Change of heart: Ronald Pascual decides to join PBA draft on advice of longtime patron Pineda
Ronald Pascual and stablemate Dexter Maiquez have been ordered to file their rookie applications on Wednesday by longtime benefactor Dennis Pineda. Dante Peralta

RONALD Pascual is joining the PBA rookie draft after a change of heart.

The former San Sebastian Stags gunner told he will file his rookie application right on the deadline on Wednesday on the advice of his longtime patron, Pampanga vice governor Dennis Pineda.

The 6-2 NLEX veteran had earlier signified his intention to stay on for one more year in the D-League - and wait it out until the 2015 draft where the MVP group has several draft picks in the first round.

Asked what changed his mind, Pascual said he feels he will be the only one left behind from his batch at NLEX, which includes Jake Pascual, Kevin Alas, Matt Ganuelas, and Garvo Lanete. 

"Nag-decide na po ako kasi umakyat na sila lahat. Ako na lang maiiwan," Pascual said.

Jake Pascual has already turned in his application while Alas and Ganuelas are set to follow suit on Wednesday. Lanete said he will make up his mind in the hours before the deadline.

"Yun nga po. Maiiwan ako. Mga kasama ko sa NLEX, pati yung team ... Andun na sa PBA," the sweet-shooting forward from Mexico, Pampanga said.

Aside from that, Pascual's former teammates and provincemates at San Sebastian during their 'Pinatubo Trio' days - Alaska's Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang - have already made a name in the pro ranks.

Pineda said he urged Pascual as well as another player in his stable, Dexter Maiquez, to turn pro after assessing the draft situation in a meeting with adviser Charlie Chua on Tuesday afternoon.

He has one simple reason - the player is 26 years old.

"It's been long overdue kaya sinabihan ko na si Ronald na magpa-draft na. It's about time," said Pineda. "Si Dexter pinasama ko na rin kasi magandang addition siya sa pool -  6-4 ang height.  May laro,  may depensa."


Maiquez is a known bruiser who can be a good role player and a import stopper in the pro league.

"Nagulat nga po ako kasi biglang tumawag sa akin si vice gov, samahan ko na daw bukas magpa-draft si Ronald," said Maiquez.

Meanwhile, Lanete said he is still undecided.

"Decide ako bukas. Di ko masagot (sa ngayon)," was the text message of Lanete,  who's been very elusive to the media the past few days.

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