THE coming PBA rookie draft just got more interesting.
This after former Far Eastern University star and UAAP Most Valuable Player RR Garcia decided to forego his last year with the Gilas cadet pool to join a draft pool where he is expected to be the top guard prospect.
Garcia said he has already secured a release from Gilas head coach Chot Reyes as well as the permission of his D-League team NLEX through manager Ronald Dulatre.
Accompanied by FEU coach Nash Racela, Garcia asked for his release which Reyes did not hesitate to grant.
“Okay na kay coach Chot. Sa kanya ako una nagpaalam. Wala daw problema sa Gilas, sa NLEX lang daw,” Garcia said. “Kaya nagpaalam na rin ako agad kay boss Ronald (Dulatre) … pumayag naman.”
Dulatre bared that he has already given Garcia’s release as it is the policy of the MVP group of companies not to stand in the way of players or employees seeking better opportunities.
“Kung pinayagan na siya ng higher ups, bakit naman namin siya pipigilan. I thank RR for the good playing days he spent with us,” said the amiable NLEX boss.
Garcia is set to submit his PBA application on Wednesday morning.
The heady guard from Zamboanga should be the top guard prospect in a draft pool dominated by big men Greg Slaughter, Ian Sangalang, and Raymond Almazan.
Garcia is also aware that he if decides to wait another year, he may end up in a guard-heavy class with fellow Gilas cadets Kevin Louie Alas, Garvo Lanete, and Terrence Romeo as well as ABL Finals MVP Chris Banchero.
“Gusto ko na mag PBA. Kapag next year pa ko maraming papasok. Marami akong kaagaw sa pwesto. Atleast ngayon halos lahat malalaki,” he said.
Asked if his decision to leave Gilas has something to do with the arrival at Gilas of Romeo, Garcia said no. The two stars have not had the smoothest relationships during their time together with the Tamaraws.
“Hindi kami magkaaway nun. Okay na kami 'nun. 'Yung slot ko eh di sa kanya na,” said the former UAAP MVP.
Garcia, meanwhile, bared that he will also meet with former Gilas team manager Butch Antonio to finalize his resignation from the team.
“Para ayos na po. Cleared. Sayang nga hindi na ako makakalaro sa (Southeast Asian) Games. Pero okay na rin, parang give chance to others,” he said.
Meanwhile, Globaport Batang Pier team owner Mikee Romero was the happiest upon learning of Garcia’s draft application, saying he will pick the former FEU star if given the chance.
“Wow. Good news yan. Maganda yan. Pag libre pa sa akin yan … kukunin ko yan,” Romero told Spin.ph as he hopes to land Garcia with his No. 6, seventh and 11th picks overall.
“RR at Sol (Mercado). Pag napagsama ko patok yan,” he added.