Pro league sees bumper crop of draft hopefuls

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    QUALITY picks until the third round?

    Expect a bumper crop of hopefuls in the pro league Draft set on March 14.

    After the UAAP scrapped its 83rd season and the fate of the NCAA 96th season still hanging in the air, Commissioner Willie Marcial is convinced the draft will likely go deep.

    “For sure, aabot tayo ng third, fourth round, may pipiliin. Ang dami, katulad noong mga gra-graduate sa UAAP and NCAA, iyong mga naglaro sa MPBL and Chooks-to-Go,” Marcial said on Radyo5 92.3 News FM’s Power and Play program hosted by former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala.

    “Ang sabi nila, papasok sila so ang dami. Fourth round, dire-diresto, para sa akin,” he added.

    So far, the likes of Fil-Am guard Jason Brickman, energetic center Andre Paras, the oldest son of PBA great Benjie, and former Alab Pilipinas standouts Jeremiah Gray, and Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser have formally filed their application.

    Incoming newbies have until Jan. 27 to submit their requirements.

    From the NCAA, big men Larry Muyang and Ben Adamos of Letran and Perpetual Help, respectively, have said they will forego their final year and instead turn pro, while from the UAAP, Far Eastern University’s Kenneth Tuffin, Jerrick Ahanmisi of Adamson University, and La Salle’s Tyrus Hill have declared for the Draft.

    Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3×3 league stars Joshua Munzon, Alvin Pasaol, Leonard Santillan, and Troy Rike have also expressed their intention to make the jump to the PBA.

    If and when a special Gilas Pilipinas Draft takes place, among those likely to be part of next year’s pool are members of the Gilas squad in the Bahrain bubble that include Green Archers center Justine Baltazar, reigning NCAA MVP Calvin Oftana of San Beda University, University of the Philippines’ Javi Gomez de Liaño, and Ateneo’s Will Navarro. All have one more year left in their collegiate careers but have yet to decide whether to turn pro or stay in school.

    Blue Eagle guard Dwight Ramos is set to play his rookie season in the 83rd UAAP basketball tournament, while the Fighting Maroons’ duo of Kobe Paras and Juan Gomez de Liaño are still eligible to play for two years.