TWO familiar faces may just have prompted teams to re-think their choices in the PBA Season 46 Rookie Draft on March 14.
The decision of the Gilas Pilipinas coaching staff to leave Calvin Oftana and William Navarro out of their list in the scheduled special draft gives the PBA teams looking for forwards more choices.
“Welcome problem iyan for everybody,” noted coach Johnedel Cardel, whose Terrafirma squad owns the rights to the Nos. 1 and 8 picks in the first round, as well as the first pick in the special draft.
“Pareho kasing tall, lanky, all-purpose forwards and you can’t go wrong either way sa kanila,” added Cardel. “P’wede ring mag-immediate impact sila kasi nga parehong immense ang talent.”
Oftana and Navarro were initially thought to be shoo-ins on the Gilas list of additions to the national pool since both have seen action for the national team in the last FIBA Asia Cup qualifying window in Bahrain.
Gilas, however, announced last Friday that Jaydee Tungcab, James Heading and Tzaddy Rangel are head coach Tab Baldwin’s choices to join Isaac Go, Rey Suerte, Matt and Mike Nieto and Allyn Bulanadi in the national pool.
All will not be able to play for the PBA teams that will draft or drafted them until they are released by Gilas from national duty.
That paved the way for the inclusion of Oftana and Navarro in the regular draft, giving them the chance to immediately see action in the pros if they are picked.
Oftana was at his finest during the NCAA Season 95 tournament where he averaged 15.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 blocks for San Beda, numbers which gave him MVP honors.
The Greece-born Navarro proved to be a vital cog for Ateneo in the last two UAAP seasons, where he averaged 5.16 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 0.73 blocks in 30 games.
Like Terrafirma, NorthPort also has two first round picks at Nos. 2 and 11 and also picks second in the special round, followed by NLEX, No. 3 in both special and regular rounds.
The Road Warriors also pick at No. 4 in the regular draft, followed by Rain or Shine (No. 5), Magnolia (No. 6), Alaska (No. 7), Meralco (No. 9), Phoenix (No. 10) and Ginebra (No. 12).