Projected first-rounders Art dela Cruz, Scottie Thompson sit out PBA Combine due to injuries
Art dela Cruz, Baser Amer and Garvo Lanete watch the proceedings from the sidelines. Jerome Ascano

ART dela Cruz and Scottie Thompson had mixed feelings about missing the PBA Draft Combine on Wednesday at the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.

The NCAA stars and projected first-round picks showed up in Day One, but failed to take part in the performance tests as they were nursing injuries.

San Beda’s Dela Cruz, nursing a minor shoulder injury, decided to rest upon the recommendation of Red Lions coach Jamike Jarin.

“Sabi ni coach Jamike magpa-attendance lang ako para makita ko yung situation,” he said. “Pinahinga ko lang talaga. Thankfully pumayag si commissioner (Chito Narvasa).”

Baser Amer and Garvo Lanete were also present, but likewise hurting, while College of St. Benilde star Jonathan Grey and little-known Dale Hodges were absent due to unknown reasons.

Consensus top picks Troy Rosario and Moala Tautuaa are with Gilas Pilipinas in Estonia for a pocket tournament.

Dela Cruz, a leading MVP candidate in the NCAA, is hardly concerned that his draft stock might drop because of his failure to take part in the camp.

“Hindi, hindi (worried),” the son of former pro Art dela Cruz said. “Actually sabi ng daddy ko wag na ako totally pumunta eh, pero sabi ko nahihiya rin ako kasi ang daming player na gustong-gusto makapaglaro tapos ako babaliwalain ko.”

“Unfortunate lang na hindi ako nakasali sa Combine, pero it doesn’t matter,” he added. “Feeling ko naman may na-prove na ako para makuha ako.”

Dela Cruz, though, said he will try to play in the scrimmage on Friday.

Thompson, on the other hand, expressed concern that his stock could be affected due to his no-show – at least on the court – owing to back spasms and an sprained ankle.

“Syempre worried kasi hindi pa sure eh (kung saan ako mapupunta),” the University of Perpetual Help star admitted. “Gustong-gusto ko syempre (sumali) lalong-lalo na bukas scrimmage, kailangan dun mo ipapakita yung pwede ka sa PBA.”

“Kaso wala ako magawa kasi hindi ko talaga kaya eh,” he was quick to add. “Hindi ako makayuko.”

Thompson said he will be out for the next five days to one week, meaning he will be forced to miss the NCAA All-Star game on Friday.

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