TWO potential first round picks in Ronald Pascual and JR Cawaling have pulled out of Sunday's PBA rookie draft for still unknown reasons.
Media bureau chief Willie Marcial confirmed on Thursday that both Pascual and Cawaling will no longer be part of the rookie list originally pegged at 71, but has since been trimmed down to 58.
“Walang binigay na reason, but confirmed that they’re no longer joining this Sunday’s draft,” he said.
Marcial said the two even completed the biometrics procedure done on all rookie aspirants Wednesday at the Club 650 gym in Libis, Quezon City.
Of the two, Pascual is projected to be likely picked early in the draft, being one-third of the dreaded San Sebastian `Big Three’ that also counts on reigning NCAA MVP Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang.
The San Sebastian star, whose buzzer-beating three-point basket steered N-LEX to the first of its three straight PBA D-League championships, has already attracted a lot of attention from scouts and is rumored to be on the list of Petron as a possible No. 3 pick owing to his closeness to current Boosters coach Ato Agustin -- his one-time mentor with the Stags with whom he won an NCAA title in 2009.
Pacsual also got the attention of Alaska’s coaching staff and team consultant Sean Chambers when they scouted him and Abueva during the Stags’ game against defending champion San Beda last Monday.
Cawaling meanwhile, is a projected late first-round pick and is reportedly under the radar of owner Mikee Romero, whose Sultan 900 Capital Inc. is hoping to become the league’s 10th member team for the coming 38th season.
If Romero’s application will be given the nod by the PBA board, the franchise will be picking last in the opening round.
A former Far Eastern University Tamaraw stalwart, Cawaling played for Romero’s Harbour Centre team in the defunct Philippine Basketball League. He also had a short stint with the original Smart Gilas team under Serbian coach Rajko Toroman.