SAN Sebastian star Ronald Pascual said his slow recovery from a knee injury and the strong cast of Fil-American players in the PBA rookie draft pool has convinced him to delay his jump to the pro ranks.
The Stags gunner was seen by many scouts as a sure-fire first-round pick in Sunday's rookie draft at the Robinsons Midtown Mall until he decided to pull out his application on Thursday.
Also pulling out was former Far Eastern University star JR Cawaling. The rookie pool is now down to 58 from the 71 players that initially applied for the draft.
“Nagulat din kasi ako kahapon nung pumunta ako sa (rookie) biometrics (session). Daming mga Fil-Ams na makakalaban sa draft. Marami ring malalakas,” said Pascual.
"At the same time, galing din naman kasi ako sa injury, so pakiramdam ko, mas maganda magpalakas pa ako at magpahinog sa D-League."
However, there have also been unconfirmed reports that Pascual has been offered a spot in the Gilas national team program to go with his stint with NLEX in the D-League to make up for wages he is expected to lose for foregoing his jump to the pro ranks.
Pascual has just recovered from an ACL injury he suffered during the 2011 Philippine Collegiate Championship League, which the Stags eventually won.
He was able to start regular basketball activity last summer, but somehow Pascual said he is slowly getting back to his old form. He is averaging 15.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in eight games with the Stags in the current NCAA season.
Though it was a tough decision to make, Pascual said he talked things over with his parents, who had been very excited with the prospect of seeing their son drafted in the first round.
“Excited mga magulang ko talaga, pero pinaliwanag ko sa kanila yung desisyon ko and masaya ako, kasi naiintindihan nila ako at suportado din nila ako,” he added.
And now that the PBA draft is behind him, Pascual said he can better focus on helping the Stags win another championship.