AS expected, Chris Banchero has been picked by Boracay Rum with the third pick overall in the first-ever D-League Draft on Thursday at the PBA office in Quezon City.
After Cafe France and Cebuana Lhuilier used the first two picks to select players from their partner schools, Boracay Rum didn't hesitate to tab the reigning Asean Basketball League Finals MVP despite the San Miguel Beer star's expressed interest to play for Blackwater.
Boracay Rum, a part of the Lucio Tan group, now owns the rights to the Fil-Italian guard but it is still unclear what Banchero's next move would be.
Café France and Cebuana Lhuillier passed up on Banchero by selecting players from their school partners, with the Bakers picking Joseph Sedurifa from Centro Escolar University at No. 1 and Cebuana getting Roi Sumang of University of the East at No. 2.
Juneric Baloria of Perpetual Help was picked by Big Chill while Blackwater Sports settled for Andrew Avillonaza after failing to get its hands on Banchero.
NLEX selected Art Dela Cruz of San Beda, Cagayan Valley picked Celedonio Trollano from Adamson, and Hog’s Breath Café picked Ford Ruyawa of Letran.
Also selected in the first round were Mark Romero (Jumbo Plastic), Benedict Adamos (Wang’s Basketball Team), Zachary Nicholls (Air21), Rowell Maniago (M-Builders) and Raul Soyud (UR Value).
Two-time UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks was also pre-selected by Banco De Oro for its 14th pick after the Sy-owned ballclub forged a school tie-up with National University.
Boracay Rum coach Lawrence Chongson said there is no question that they will be selecting Banchero.
“He is the best player available, as I heard,” said Chongson. “In truth, I haven’t seen him play, I haven’t seen any ABL game. Puro hearsay lang. Pero maraming nagsabi na mga experts at naniwala naman ako.”
Banchero’s pick came at a time when he was originally set on playing for Blackwater Sports after a deal that prospered before the PBA D-League draft was implemented.
In the second round, Cebuana Lhuillier and Café France also selected a player from UE and CEU in Chris Javier and Rodrigue Ebundo.
Boracay Rum also picked Far Eastern University forward Mark Belo in the second round, while La Salle point guard LA Revilla was selected by Big Chill.
Blackwater Sports also beefed up its lineup by tabbing Jericho Cruz of Adamson in the second round, as former La Salle forward Papot Paredes was picked by NLEX.
The Road Warriors also picked several players from the Red Lions roster in Francis Abarcar, Van Abatayo, Antonio Bonsubre, and Dan Sara.
A total of 58 out of the 111 draftees were selected in the first draft of the developmental league.