THE Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) has finally identified three names who will take part in the special Gilas Pilipinas round of the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft, namely Jaydee Tungcab, Jordan Heading, and Tzaddy Rangel.
Amid the fanfare, the names of Calvin Oftana and William Navarro were conspicuous by their absence from the Gilas list.
The two, who were part of the last two national team training camps, were expected to be shoo-ins for the next wave of players to be officially added to the Gilas stable after their performances in the 2021 Fiba Asia Cup qualifiers last November in Manama.
But alas, the two took a different route and instead decided to begin their PBA careers by going through the regular phase of the annual draft exercise.
Titan Management Group, which handles the two young guns, confirmed that both Oftana and Navarro 'respectfully declined' SBP's offers to join the Gilas pool full-time.
Nevertheless, scouts expect the two to be taken in the first round.
Oftana, 25, is the NCAA Season 95 MVP as the 6-foot-5 forward from Dumaguete led San Beda with his 15.5 points on 52-percent shooting from the field and 43-percent from threes, aside from his 8.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 blocks in 25.5 minutes.
He was impressive in his lone game for Gilas, tallying nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from deep, to go with four boards, four assists, a steal, and a block in 15 minutes of play in the Philippines' 93-69 victory over Thailand.
Navarro, 24, is considered as one of the smartest bigs in the field as seen in his run for Ateneo, where he averaged 7.3 points on 44-percent shooting, to go with 5.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 21 minutes of play last UAAP Season 82.
The 6-foot-6 slotman was solid in his 16 minutes of action for Gilas in its 93-61 win over Thailand, collecting four points, one rebound, and one steal.