St. Clare hopes program finally yields first ever PBA product with three players in Rookie Draft 
Three out of the final 53 aspirants in this year's PBA Rookie Draft are from Saint Clare. Jerome Ascano

ST. CLARE College hopes to get its first-ever product make it to the PBA this year as three players from its college program made it to the 2016 Rookie Draft.

The Saints, one of Manila’s emerging college programs and already a power in the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities (NAASCU), are well-represented in Sunday’s proceedings at the Robinson’s Place in Manila with Jam Jamito, Jayson Ibay, and John Ambulodto part of the 53 aspirants who made the final cut of this year’s rookie batch.

“Talagang pinagdadasal namin na sana magkaroon ng isa,” said St. Clare College coach Jino Manansala, who recently guided the school to the NAASCU crown.

Manansala made a case for his former players, with Jamito, a 6-foot-5 high-leaper from Basud, Camarines Norte, emerging as the best bet of getting picked.

“Ever since talagang high leaper na siya. Masipag ‘yung bata, hindi nag-gigive-up hanggang makuha niya ‘yung gusto niya,” said the son son of former PBA player Jimmy Manansala.

Ibay and Ambulodto also have a shot at making the pro league with their talent and sheer hardwork.

“Si Ibay, malaking shooter na puwede ring pandepensa sa import kasi malaking bata,” said Manansala, noting Ibay’s defense work against Bright Akhuetie during the PCBL finals last summer when the 6-foot-3 forward played for Jumbo Plastic.

“Hardworking ‘yung bata,” said Manansala on the part of the 6-foot-5 Ambulodto. “Puwedeng pandepensa sa mga malalaki kahit mga three minutes. Masipag ‘yung bata kasi hindi tumitigil sa ensayo.”

In its effort to have more of its players get a chance of making it to the pros, Manansala said the school is planning to see action in the PBA D-League and allow them to get the needed exposure.

“Plano namin sa mga bata ngayon, sumali sa D-League para magtuluy-tuloy na makapag-produce ng mga puwedeng makarating sa PBA,” said Manansala.

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