FORMER Gilas Pilipinas naturalized player candidate Isaiah Austin emerged as the No. 1 overall pick of the recent 2021 BIG3 SuperDraft.
The 7-foot-1 Austin, who represented the country in the 2017 FIBA Asia Champions Cup as import of Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas, was selected by team Enemies as the top player out of the close to 100 players who made themselves available for the proceedings.
The Enemies are coached by Gilbert Arenas with Nick Young as team captain.
The 27-year-old Austin, once projected as a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft until he was diagnosed with a mild form of Marfan Syndrome, was once considered by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) as candidate for naturalization.
In his seven-game stint in the Champions Cup, he averaged 32. 6 points, 13.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 3.1 block shots in steering the country to a fifth place finish in the meet featuring top club teams from various Asian countries.
Meanwhile, four former PBA imports including three who suited up for San Miguel Beer, were also taken as first-round picks.
Will McDonald was tabbed at fourth overall by Ball Hogs mentored by Rick Barry and captained by Brian Scalabrine. The 6-foot-11 American saw action for the Beermen in the 2012 Commissioner’s Cup when the team carried the Petron Blaze banner, and became famous for throwing the ball on the forehead of Barako Bull big man Mick Pennisi that led to his ejection. The incident trended worldwide owing to Pennisi’s delayed flop.
Renaldo Balkman also ended up a first round pick in the 3-on-3 basketball league of hip hop musician and actor Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatinetz.
Balkman, 36, who last played for Alab Pilipinas in the Asean Basketball League (ABL), was picked at No. 6 by the Aliens of coach Rick Mahorn and team captain Greg Oden, the former NBA top draft pick in 2007 by the Portland Trailblazers.
Another SMB import in Kevin Murphy followed Balkman at No. 7 by the 3 Headed Monsters of NBA legend Gary Payton. He played for the Beermen franchise in the 2018 Governors Cup and became known for the alleged choking incident he had with then Phoenix star Calvin Abueva.
Ex-Phoenix reinforcement Alonzo Gee came in at eight spot with Bivouac of coach Reggie Theus, who handled Kobe Paras while redshirting with Cal State Northridge.
Top Serbian 3x3 player Dusan Bulut meanwhile, was a top three pick by Power of coach Nancy Lieberman.
Former NBA champion Metta World Peace was also a first round selection at No. 9 with Trilogy, handled by Stephen Jackson.
The SuperDraft lasted for just two rounds, with defending champion Triplets and runner up Killer 3’s not taking part in the procedure for having the luxury of keeping their respective rosters from the previous season.
The 4th season of the BIG3 opens on July 10.