THE Philippine Superliga Rookie Draft is set on Friday at the Music Hall Oval Venue of the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City with two collegiate MVPs going head-to-head for the top overall pick.
Reigning UAAP champion Ara Galang of La Salle and former NCAA Best Attacker CJ Rosario of Arellano now banner the 16 rookie aspirants in this prestigious event that will be aired live over TV5 starting 5 p.m, with the former Lady Spiker only confirming her entry to the draft to league officials on Thursday.
The 21-year old former UAAP MVP immediately sent coaches into reconfiguring their war plans when she reconsidered her earlier decision to focus on her studies and forgo the draft while recuperating from a knee injury. Galang even hinted of her decision before that by showing up at the Rookie Camp at the FilOil Flying V Center on Tuesday, making her one of the favorites for the top overall pick along with Rosario.
Galang, however, hopes to end up with the new-look F2 Logistics, which will be led by her former La Salle teammates Mika Reyes, Cyd Demecillo, Kim Fajardo, and Kim Dy among others.
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-1 middle blocker Rosario has expressed no such team preference although she has already gained PSL experience after helping Petron reach the semifinals of a pre-season tournament last month.
RC Cola-Army, owner of top overall pick, admitted that picking between Galang and Rosario is a “very beautiful problem” since both spikers are capable of becoming a vital piece in their bid to win their fourth PSL crown.
“Both of them are very good. They are the rising stars in this league,” said RC Cola-Army coach Kungfu Reyes. “But we haven’t sat down to discuss our draft choice. This is a very crucial decision. We have to do a lot of research and studying before coming up with a choice.”
PSL president Ramon Suzara said the league's implementation of a three-day trading period only adds more drama to this year's draft as some transactions can change the complexion and drafting order.
“We don’t know who will end up with whom,” said Suzara, an executive council member of the FIVB who also holds an important position with the AVC.
“For now, RC Cola-Army owns the top overall pick. But we may not know in the next hours. Maybe they have already traded their pick to another team to has acquired a veteran who can help them win another title. Let’s wait until the draft proper,” he added.
Aside from Galang and Rosario, also expected to be tapped in the first round are former Arellano stalwarts Danna Henson, Shirley Salamagos and Angel Legacion as well as Asi Soliven of National University, Mary Grace Berte of Holy Cross of Davao and Marlyn Llagoso and Jerra Mae Pacino of Southwestern University in Cebu.
Also in the pool are Renelyn Raterta of University of Mindanao, Jonah Sabete of Bulacan State University, Gen Casugod of Far Eastern University, Sheryl Laborte of University of Negros Occidental, Lourdes Patilano of Adamson University, Sarina Bulan of University of the East and Christine Suyao of Emilio Aguinaldo College.
RC Cola-Army will be picking first in the original draft order followed by Generika, Perpetual, Standard Insurance-Navy, F2 Logistics, Cignal, Petron and Foton, which won the PSL Grand Prix crown last year.