WHAT was once projected to be a bumper crop of rookie prospects in the coming PBA draft is in danger of becoming considerably thinner.
Information has reached Spin.ph that Gilas Pilipinas cadets plan to forego the next rookie draft to stay one more year in the D-League where the Manny V. Pangilinan group is set to form a new team following the NLEX Road Warriors' ascent to the PBA.
The quintet of PBA D-League MVPs Kevin Louie Alas and Garvo Lanete, Matt Ganuelas, Jake Pascual and Ronald Pascual are all tipped to be picked with the top seven of a August 24 draft where Fil-Am Stanley Pringle and Fil-Italian Chris Banchero stand at the top of the list.
However, among the five, sources said only Alas and Lanete have filed draft applications so far while the three others are mulling staying in the amateurs for another year to play for a D-League team that will be comprised mostly of San Beda players and will likely carry the banner of either Cignal or Philex Mining.
“Pero still, nagdadalawang isip pa rin 'yang dalawa (Alas and Lanete) na 'yan ha,” said the source. “May alok kasi na lumaro pa sila sa D-League ng isang taon, magpapasok ulit ng team ang MVP group.”
If they skip this year's draft, the five will land in what should be the real draft to look forward to - a 2015 pool that should likely include two-time UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks, who also played briefly for NLEX in the D-League.
Also likely to turn pro in 2015 are San Beda hotshots Baser Amer, Kyle Pascual, Anthony and David Semerad, Art Dela Cruz and Ryusei Koga, and Ateneo mainstays Chris Newsome and Nico Elorde.
Another Ateneo star, Kiefer Ravena, still has two years of UAAP eligibility left with the Blue Eagles.
San Beda and Ateneo are two schools backed by Pangilinan.
Interestingly, the three PBA teams under the MVP umbrella - Talk 'N Text, Meralco, and NLEX - are projected to have five first-round picks in the 2015 rookie draft and only one (NLEX at No. 3 inherited from Air21) in this year's drafting.
Gilas cadets skipping this year's draft should frustrate a lot of teams with high draft picks this year, most of them looking forward to landing any of the five in the first round.
Crowd favorite Ginebra, for example, is reportedly eyeing Ganuelas with the sixth pick overall in this year's draft.
One team governor who spoke to Spin.ph expressed disbelief at the Gilas cadets' plans.
“Tumatanda na sila. Saka hindi ba nila naiisip na kung sumali na sana sila last year, malaki na sweldo nila ngayon sa PBA?” said the governor who asked not to be identifed.
“Ganito lang ka-simple 'yan eh. Minimum salary sila sa first year (as rookie), sa second year tataas 'yan ng mga 220 o 250k. E di sana next year, maximum na sila na 350k, kesa sa 150k max as rookie nila kung next year sasali,” he added.
To give you a better grasp of the situation, here are the owners of the 2015 first-round rights (Note: the order of drafting will still depend on the performances of the teams next season while the draft rights may still change hands via trade transactions):
San Mig Coffee Mixers
San Miguel Beer
Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters
Rain or Shine Elastopainters
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (this pick is bound for NLEX under the pre-agreed Joseph Yeo trade)
Meralco Bolts (from Globalport)
Barako Bull Energy
NLEX Road Warriors
Just to give you a refresher, here is the 2014 order of the draft, which will happen on August 24 at the Robinsons Place in Manila
1. GlobalPort Batang Pier
2. Rain or Shine (from Meralco)
3. Barako Bull Energy
4. NLEX Road Warriors
5. Alaska Aces
6. Barangay Ginebra
7. San Mig Coffee (from Barako from San Miguel)
8. Barako Bull Energy (from Talk 'N Text)
9. Rain or Shine
10. Barako Bull Energy (from San Mig Coffee)
11. Kia Motors
12. Blackwater Sports
SECOND ROUND (Positioning not yet official):
1. Blackwater Sports
2. Kia Motors
3. Alaska Aces(from Meralco)
4. Rain or Shine (from GlobalPort)
5. Alaska Aces (from NLEX)
6. Barako Bull Energy
7. Alaska Aces
8. Barako Bull Energy (from Ginebra)
9. Alaska Aces (from Meralco from San Miguel)
10. Talk 'N Text
11. Rain or Shine
12. San Miguel Beer (from Barako from San Mig)
*Second round order is still pending final review of recent trade dealings where picks were included in previous transactions.