ALASKA team owner Wilfred Uytengsu is opposed to holding a separate special draft for members of Gilas cadets, stressing the plan runs counter to his original proposal for national team members to directly join the 2016 Rookie Draft.
Uytengsu said the entire purpose of the regular draft is to ensure parity in the league, which he believes would be effected if another draft is held exclusively for incoming members of Gilas 5.0.
Newly-elected Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio disclosed on Monday the PBA board is keen on holding a separate draft involving the 14 players to be selected in the national squad.
The event is slated to be held on the same day the regular draft is scheduled.
"I have proposed that the Gilas cadets join the PBA draft and not that we create a separate draft for them," said the outspoken Alaska team owner.
“I believed what I proposed is the best situation for the PBA to show it’s whole-hearted support for the national team, for the SBP to show its support for the PBA, and providing the win-win situation that is above politics and what the Filipino fans deserve."
Uytengsu laid down five reasons to stress his point.
Foremost according to the vocal team owner is to ensure league parity. He said Gilas cadets directly joining the Rookie draft meant expansion franchises such as Blackwater and Mahindra acquiring future league superstars or a talented player who can immediately play for the team.
On Wednesday, the SBP already released the 24-man pool for Gilas 5.0 that will see action in next month’s FIBA Asia Challenge Cup. The list include amateur stars such as Kiefer Ravena, RayRay Parks, Kevin Ferrer, Roger Pogoy, Russel Escoto, Von Pessumal, Fil-Canadian Matthew Wright, among others.
Likewise, the next draft – tentatively set this October – will go down as one of the most exciting in league annals with the presence of the cadet players.
“All of a sudden, teams have to decide whether or not they will draft a Gilas player who may not be available for 1-4 years, or they pick a player who is ready right now,” said Uytengsu.
At the same time, allowing a special draft would set a precedent of holding one every year for Gilas cadet members, according to the former national swimmer.
“What do we do when Gilas only want to get three players to add to their team? Do we hold a separate draft for only those three players?” Uytengsu asked.
“If so, how would we determine who gets to pick those three players? Is it the bottom three teams? If so, do they pick first again when the regular PBA draft begins? This would then defeat the original purpose of the PBA draft, which is to ensure parity.”
Doing away with the special draft would also mean avoiding tanking of games and manipulation of the regular draft itself.
“Trying to lose games so that you can get a pick in a special Gilas cadets draft and an early first round pick is not good for the fans. It dishonors the game, and as such, it is not good for the league,” said Uytengsu.
“Allowing the Gilas cadets to join the PBA draft instead of creating a special draft for them, we avoid political posturing and maneuvering to manipulate the draft for a specific team or group’s needs,” he added.