WITH no PBA Draft Combine this season, teams are now inviting rookie hopefuls to individual workouts in order to see them up close.
Magnolia, Alaska, and Barangay Ginebra were so far among those ballclubs that have taken advantage of the opportunity to request for a personal workout with select rookie prosects ahead of the March 14 draft.
The Hotshots and Kings, both picking late in the first round of the March 14 draft, divulged the names of their invites, while the Aces would rather keep their cards close to their chest.
Although sending out invitations for personal workouts on draftees has been a norm in the past, the practice has become more prevalent this time following the league’s decision to cancel the Draft Combine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve had a few guys come in for maybe three-four days. But I prefer not to name them na lang,” said Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso, whose team is selecting No. 7 in the draft order.
Magnolia mentor Chito Victolero has four rookie invites in his list, while Ginebra counterpart Tim Cone has his hands full with more than 10 draftees showing up in the scheduled workouts.
Incidentally, all Magnolia invites, namely Santi Santillan, Ben Adamos, Larry Muyang, and James Laput are also on the radar of Barangay Ginebra.
“Unfortunately, no contact drills, so we can’t put them in a scrimmage situation,” said Cone, who also took a look at Alvin Pasaol, and guards Andrei Caracut, Jerrick Ahanmisi, Loren Brill, and Aljun Melecio.
“It’s more just like individual drills and training.”
All invites are required to undergo testing before the workouts.
Terrafirma and NorthPort, which owns the first two picks of the draft many projected as the deepest ever in PBA history, have yet to send out invitations, but are planning to do so as well.
“Pinag-uusapan pa kung sinu-sino. Wala pa namang specific players as of the moment,” said team manager Bonnie Tan.
NLEX is also headed in the same direction especially with the Road Warriors holding the third and fourth picks.
“Wala pang final decision si coach Yeng, pero gusto sana niya,” said deputy coach Adonis Tierra. “Hindi ko pa rin alam kung kailan kung meron man.”