MATINEE idol Daniel Padilla has been included in the lineup of the AMA Titans in the D-League, clearing the way for the popular teen actor's stint in the feeder league of the PBA.
Padilla was the final pick of the draft on Monday after he was grabbed in the 15th round by the Titans in the biggest surprise of the proceedings held at the PBA offices in Libis, Quezon City.
PBA D-League tournament director Eric Castro later confirmed that the Padilla that was selected by the Titans was indeed the young heartthrob.
Padilla was not part of the 153 players who submitted their application for the D-League draft. But Castro explained AMA invoked its right as a school-based team to sign a player who hasn't applied for the draft.
Such was the case with M-Builders, whose school tie-up with Far Eastern University allowed Tamaraws players Anthony Hargrove, Achie Inigo, and Raymar Jose to play for the team.
According to AMA, Padilla, listed by various sources as either 5-9 or 5-11, is not only an endorser of AMA but is also a enrolled in the school, making him eligible to play for the Titans in the PBA D-League, Castro said.
Padilla, whose love team with Kathryn Bernardo is the most popular in the country, is a fixture in exhibition games featuring showbiz personalities and has stood out in some games.
The 19-year-old is the second popular actor to make an attempt to play in the D-League after Gerald Anderson, a former high school star in Davao before pursuing a career in show business.
However, plans for Anderson to suit up for multi-titled D-League team NLEX last year failed to push through.
Padilla is also the second celebrity to invade the top tier of Philippine basketball, following in the path of boxing hero Manny Pacquiao who has been named player-coach of expansion team Kia Motors in the PBA.