THE coming annual PBA Rookie Draft won’t be lacking in talent at all.
GILAS Pilipinas cadets Kevin Louie Alas and Matt Ganuelas have decided to join longtime teammate Jake Pascual in the PBA rookie draft, adding depth to what had earlier been feared as a shallow pool.
Alas and Ganuelas are set to file their application forms before the Wednesday deadline and both are expected to go in the first round of the August 24 draft at Robinsons Place Manila.
However, Ronald Pascual, another member of the Gilas pool, decided to forego his PBA draft plans yet again as his way of showing gratitude to longtime benefactor and NLEX team owner Manny V. Pangilinan.
Still the presence of Alas and Ganuelas should be enough to spice up the pickings for teams in a rookie pool that includes consensus top pick Stanley Pringle, Chris Banchero, San Beda twins David and Anthony Semerad, Raul Soyud, Andrew Avillanoza, Prince Caperal, John Pinto, Brian Heruela, and Junrick Baloria.
So far, 78 rookie hopefuls have submitted their applications at the end of office hours on Monday.
Alas sought the advice of his parents, Louie and Liza, regarding the decision he needs to make by Wednesday.
“Humingi ng advice sa amin ng wife ko si Kevin. Sabi ko sa kanya, kung ako yan, magpapa-draft na ako,” said the elder Alas, who serves as senior deputy of coach Alex Compton at Alaska.
“Pero sabi namin sa kanya, bahala kang mag-isip at mag decide dyan,” he added.
Kevin admitted to Spin.ph in an earlier report that his desire to play for the national team has been hampering his plan of joining the draft.
But the elder Alas advised his son to instead work out a deal with team that will select him to include a clause in his contract allowing him to be available to play for the national squad.
“Yun ang isang binilin ko sa kanya. Kung gusto mo talaga mag-national team, hingin mo na payagan ka lumaro pag kinukuha ka sa Gilas,” said Alas.
“Kasi kung national team ang isa sa mga humaharang sa kanya, sabi ko sa kanya, nakapaglaro ka na eh. Kung gusto mo pa rin (sa national team), makipag-usap ka sa magiging PBA team mo.”
Ganuelas, meanwhile, is still unavailable for comment as the 6-foot-5 forward is still on his way back to the country after a short vacation in California.
But an official from the MVP Group confirmed Ganuelas’ intention to join the coming draft.
So far, only fellow Gilas cadet Garvo Lanete remains undecided, although the high scoring guard from San Beda is expected to make his intentions known within the day.
Like Alas, Lanete has long announced his intention to turn pro, but apparently had second thoughts after meeting with Pangilinan last Friday.
During the meeting held at the PLDT office in Makati, Pangilinan reportedly laid down the company’s plans in as far as rebuilding the three teams under the MVP Group is concerned.
“Sinabihan kami ni Boss MVP na hindi niya kami pinipigilang magpa-draft. Pero sinabi niya na kung next year kami sasali, mas malaki chance na makabalik kami sa MVP teams, kasi anim ang pick nila,” said the player, who requested anonymity.
“Ngayon kasi daw, iisa lang ang pick nila sa first round, yung sa NLEX, fourth pick,” added the source.
The same source reiterated Pangilinan did not insist nor force the players to forego their draft plans.