FOR consensus lottery picks, the Draft Combine is a mere function where they just go through the motions, carrying the assurance of getting picked in the PBA Draft.
But for unheralded aspirants like Franklin Bonifacio Jr., the event Combine is an essential step, where they have to bring their A game toward reaching their hoop dreams.
And in front of the prying eyes of league coaches and scouts, the Filipino-American wingman made the most of his opportunity, excelling in both the biometrics tests and the scrimmage.
The 6-foot-2 cager finished second behind Chris Banchero in three measurements, the standing vertical leap where he recorded 33.46 inches, the maximum vertical leap (64.31 inches), and the three-fourth court sprint, which he finished in exactly three seconds.
Bonifacio also rounded out the top five in the shuttle run test, finishing it in 17.62 seconds, while winding up sixth among 38 rookie hopefuls in the lane agility drill, completing it in just 9.38 seconds.
Then, he emerged one of the top performers in the 5-on-5 game, registering 10 points, built around two triples, on top of three boards and one assist against two turnovers in 30 minutes - the most among participants.
“I feel like I really have to make an impression to all these guys that here I am,” beamed Bonifacio, born to Filipino parents in California, where he red-shirted for Los Positas Junior College before moving to the Philippines.
Then he spent two years in the D-League, but failed to gain enough spotlight in a star-studded Big Chill side.
“But I think I did pretty well (in the Combine). Hopefully, I can be on the radar now. I’m not really known out here.”
“Whatever happened on the court, I gave it my all,” he was quick to add. “I’m not gonna make any excuses.”
He did rue one play where he had the chance to dunk the ball, but the leather slipped, so he settled for a layup.
“But that’s it. It’s not even an excuse. Two points is two points.”
It’s on defense, though, where the sweet-shooting guard/forward would like to be known, saying he can defend point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards.
Bonifacio said he is not “expecting too much, but just hoping for something,” probably getting picked at least late second round or early third round.
And he feels his performance was enough to earn him a status as a sleeper.
“That’s what I’m trying to promote, hopefully a sleeper pick, kinda like Justin Melton,” he said, referring to San Mig Coffee’s 2013 second-round pick who played a key role in the Mixers’ Grand Slam run.
Wherever he ends up, one thing’s for sure.
“I feel that I’m ready,” he said. “I did my two years. I learned, I adjusted and I feel like I’m ready to make another adjustment, so hopefully it works out.”