A special Rookie Draft for incoming members of the latest batch of Gilas Pilipinas cadets will be held to distinguish the respective teams that will own the rights on them once they decided to finally turn pro.
Newly-elected Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio disclosed the plan of both the cage body and the pro league for a draft for around 14 Gilas cadets to be held right before the regular PBA Draft set on October.
“The agreement is for them to be drafted in a special draft for Gilas players. PBA teams would have the rights on them, but they would not play in the (PBA) until the SBP releases them to the (pro league),” said Panlilio shortly after the SBP national congress and election of officers held Monday at the Dusit Hotel.
“That has been the sort of agreement with the PBA.”
The special draft was first first broached by Alaska team owner Wilfred Uytengsu, who
PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial said as far as he's concerned, the plan has yet to be given the go signal by the league board.
The design was originally proposed by Alaska team owner Wilfred Uytengsu following the SBP’s move to tap the services of would-be PBA rookies and cadets to comprise Gilas Pilipinas 5.0 that will compete in the series of qualifiers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
The basketball federation said the new home-and-away format to be institutionalized by the world governing body for the sport beginning next year will leave PBA players unavailable for national team service the whole year, prompting the SBP to revert to the original Smart Gilas program.
But fearing a shallow draft could be in the offing in the absence of top amateur and collegiate players, Uytengsu made the proposal which the PBA board has taken into consideration.
“I think it was seconded by Phoenix and other teams. You don’t want to kill the PBA at the same time, because the pipeline of players come from the collegiate ranks,” said Panlilio, who is also team governor of Meralco.
“We’re also part of the PBA, so we want to make sure the league survives.”
Under the proposed special draft, all the teams will pick one following the order of the original draft, according to Panlilio.
“Basta yung identified 14 (players) will be separated (from the regular draft),” said the executive vice president of Meralco.
The SBP has yet to identify the 14 players, but most likely, will be comprised of the same faces included in the Gilas team that’s set to see action in the Fiba Asia Challenge Cup such as Kiefer Ravena, Mac Belo, Roger Pogoy, Mike Tolomia, Russel Escoto, Kevin Ferrer, Ed Daquioag, Von Pessumal, Arnold Van Opstal, among others.
“Probably most of those names will be part of the Gilas 5.0,” said the newly-elected SBP prexy. “That’s the role of manager Butch (Antonio), to really find those 14 names and sign them up to the Gilas program.”
Players will be signed up either for two, three, or four years, according to Panlilio.
“It depends on the calendar that we’re looking at,” he said.