KOBE Charles Caluya's longshot quest to be a PBA player ended on Thursday when the 43-year-old hopeful was told not to join Day Two of the league-supervised Draft Combine at the Gatorade Hoops Center.
Caluya, the oldest, shortest (5-foot-7) and least known among the 54 hopefuls that joined the first day of rookie camp, still showed up on Thursday but was no longer allowed to take part in the drills, a league official confirmed.
The player, the official added, struggled to keep up with the rest of the rookie hopefuls in the skills test and had a difficult time following instructions, obviously because of his lack of experience at this level.
At one point, he failed to reach the lowest rung of the horizontal vanes that are used to determine a player's vertical leap using an equipment called vertec.
The league typically screens all rookie applicants, weeding out what have come to be known as 'nuisance candidates' before Draft Day.
However, the PBA had a difficult time setting the bar for rookie hopefuls after pro boxer Manny Pacquiao was given the green light to join the 2014 draft before assuming the role of playing-coach of Kia Motors (now Mahindra).
Pacquiao, then 35, didn't even bother to show up for the draft combine before he was picked in the first round at 11th overall by Kia.
In Caluya's case, he summoned the courage to join the draft to pursue a lifelong dream of playing in the PBA.
He studied at the University of the East but was never part of the varsity team, his experience mostly limited to playing in small leagues in barangay San Martin De Porres in Paranaque City.
At the end of the camp, the PBA released a statement through its Twitter account explaining the decision to keep Caluya out of the mini tournament.
"PBA Officials gave primium (sic) importance to Caluya's health and well-being for he grew pale and was exhausted after undergoing strength and agility tests during the the Combine's 1st day," the league said.