TANDUAY and Café France look to bolster their respective rosters through the 2017 PBA D-League Draft to complete their title runs this season with 2016 Aspirants’ Cup and Foundation Cup champion Phoenix no longer around this year.
Café France fell to Phoenix in the 2016 Aspirants Cup finals, while Tanduay suffered the same fate in the Foundation Cup championship series. But the Accelerators have begged off from joining this season, and the Bakers and Rhum Masters look to capitalize starting with the stacked D-League draft.
AMA Online Education, still in search of its first franchise semifinal berth, owns the top pick in the 2016 PBA D-League Draft on December 20 at PBA Cafe in Metrowalk, Pasig. And coach Mark Herrera wasted no time making his intentions clear on who he will get first in the 128-man pool.
"We're sure that Jeron Teng be our first pick," he said, referring to the La Salle winger who helped the Green Archers snare the UAAP Season 79 crown and was even named as the Finals MVP.
If Teng indeed goes to the Titans, he will form a formidable duo with double-double machine Jay-R Taganas to lead the squad this season.
But 2016 Foundation Cup bridesmaid Tanduay will be picking second, while Aspirants’ Cup runner-up Café France picks fourth after Racal. Wangs Basketball rounds up the top five in the draft order.
Tanduay and Café France will still have elite players available to choose from beyond Teng. Some standouts in the draft pool include San Beda’s Davon Potts and Robert Bolick, Far Eastern University’s Monbert Arong, Letran’s Jom Sollano, and Southwestern University’s Mac Tallo.
Newcomers Cignal, Jose Rizal University, Manuel L. Quezon University, and Province of Batangas will all be in a lottery on draft day to decide their placing in the draft order.
As a guest team, Blustar Malaysia will be ineligible to select in the draft proceedings.
There are 113 local and 15 Fil-foreigners eligible to be selected in the draft.
The 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup opens on January 19 next year.