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Record total of 65 hopefuls selected in PBA Rookie Draft

THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Rookie Draft for Season 46 was successfully held virtually on Sunday with a record 65 players selected in the proceedings.

Considered by many to be one of the deepest drafts in recent league history, with a pool of 86 eligible applicants, the 12 teams took turns in picking players who they think can help them in their campaigns in the upcoming season and beyond.

As expected, Terrafirma Dyip made do-it-all, Filipino-American player Joshua Munzon the top overall pick while selecting another Fil-foreigner in Jordan Heading in the special Gilas Pilipinas draft.

Mr. Munzon, the country’s top 3×3 player who also paraded his wares in the ASEAN Basketball League and the PBA D-league, is seen to be one of the key cogs for the Dyip in the post-CJ Perez era.

Scoring champion Perez was traded to the San Miguel Beermen early this year.

Mr. Heading, meanwhile, will be on loan to Gilas, joining fellow Terrafirma player draftee Isaac Go, to help the national team prepare for international competitions.

The Dyip also picked 6’10” player James Laput eighth overall in the first round then selected Dhon Reverente (third round), Michael Javelosa (fourth round), Immanuel Custodio (fifth round), and Terrence Tumalip (sixth round).

University Athletic Association of the Philippines one-and-done Jamie Malonzo of De La Salle University, meanwhile, was chosen second in the regular draft by the NorthPort Batang Pier.

The high-flying Malonzo played only one season for the Green Archers but instantly made an impact, averaging 15.8 points and 9.9 rebounds.

It is something he hopes to bring to the new-look Batang Pier, who made notable player changes this offseason.

“I’m excited and I think I’m prepared and ready to make an impact immediately with the team,” said Mr. Malonzo after being drafted.

NorthPort selected Ateneo’s Will Navarro in the Gilas draft and Troy Rike for the 11th pick in the regular draft.

The NLEX Road Warriors selected third, picking collegiate standouts Calvin Oftana (San Beda) and Tzaddy Rangel (National University) in the regular and Gilas draft, respectively.

In the second round, the Road Warriors went for University of the Philippines’ David Murrell.

The TNT Tropang Giga, who made moves in the lead-up to the draft to land on number four, picked Fil-foreign guard Mikey Williams.

They also selected Jaydee Tungcab of UP for the Gilas draft and Michael Simmonds in the third round.

The Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, now coached by Chris Gavina, chose Santi Santillan of La Salle at number five and Franky Johnson, Anton Asistio and Andrei Caracut in the second round.

Perpetual Help’s Ben Adamos, meanwhile, was made the sixth overall pick by the Alaska Aces, who took Taylor Browne (second round) and RK Ilagan (third round) after.

The Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters picked Letran big man Larry Muyang at number seven in the opening round and selected Nick Demusis and Aljun Melecio back to back in the second round.

In the fifth round, the team picked collegiate journeyman Jerie Pingoy, who could not help but be emotional, vowing to work hard to earn a spot in the team.

The Meralco Bolts made burly scorer Alvin Pasaol from the University of the East the number nine selection.

At 10th, the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok went for Adamson gunner Jerrick Ahanmisi.

The 12th and last pick in the first round was with reigning Philippine Cup champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings, who went for former Far Eastern University big man Ken Holmqvist.

The Blackwater Bossings and San Miguel Beermen did not have first-round picks because of deals they made previously, but made up for it in the succeeding rounds.

Among the players Blackwater got were Rey Mark Acuno and Joshua Torralba (second round), Andre Paras (third round), and Jun Manzo (fourth round).

San Miguel, for its part, picked Allen Enriquez (third round) and Mohammad Salim (fourth round).

The draft proceedings lasted until the eighth round, with former Jose Rizal University and UE player Jed Mendoza the last player to be picked by NorthPort.

“It is going to be an exciting PBA season with all these rookies coming in. I’m sure our veteran players will not allow themselves to be outdone, so I’m sure we’re going to see exciting action,” said PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial.

The previous record of players selected in the draft was 54 set in 2015.

The PBA is targeting to begin its Season 46 on April 11 pending approval from the government over health and safety concerns in relation to the pandemic. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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