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PBA: Five teams to pick Gilas prospects in special draft

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Just like in 2016, the PBA Rookie Draft will be a two-part proceeding, with a special draft among Gilas prospects held before the regular exercise.

Former Ateneo center Isaac Go is one of five players that will be selected in a special draft. (PBA Images)

Former Ateneo center Isaac Go is one of five players that will be selected in a special draft. (PBA Images)

Sixty-seven players, in all, hope that their names be called and their dreams come true in the keenly awaited draft exercise set at Robinson’s Place Manila Sunday starting at 3 p.m.

Ateneo players Isaac Go, Matt and Mike Nieto, San Sebastian’s Allyn Bulanadi and UE’s Rey Suerte are five players placed in a pool for special dispersal to Columbian Dyip, Blackwater, NLEX, Alaska and Rain or Shine.

These five players are being eyed by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas for inclusion in the Gilas program for the next FIBA World Cup the country is hosting in 2023.

In 2016, the PBA also held a special draft involving then Gilas cadet players Mac Belo, Matthew Wright, RR Pogoy, Jio Jalalon, Kevin Ferrer, Mike Tolomia, Carl Bryan Cruz, Von Pessumal, Ed Daquioag, Russel Escoto, Arnold Van Opstal and Alfonzo Gotladera.

In the regular draft then, Raphael Banal was the top choice by Blackwater.

The Dyip, the Elite, the Road Warriors, the Aces and the Elasto Painters will get cracks at Go, the Nieto twins, Bulanadi and Suerte. But the teams will only hold rights on these players, and get to enlist them only once they are released by the SBP from Gilas service.

With Go in the special draft and out of the regular pool, the guessing game is who will be bestowed the honors of being the top of the 2019 draft class.

Columbian owns the rights for the first pick. The complete draft order in the first round is Columbian at No. 1 followed by Blackwater at No. 2, NLEX at No. 3, Alaska No. 4, Rain or Shine Nos. 5 to 7, NorthPort No. 8, Magnolia No. 9, Barangay Ginebra No. 10, TNT KaTropa No. 11 and Columbian No. 12.

In the second round, it is Ginebra, Blackwater, NLEX, Alaska, Alaska, Meralco, Rain or Shine, NLEX, Magnolia, Ginebra, Rain or Shine and NorthPort.

Two other Ateneo stalwarts in Adrian Wong and Vince Tolentino, Adamson’s Sean Manganti, Letran’s Jerrick Balanza and Bonbon Batiller, twin brothers Jayvee and Jaycee Marcelino of Lyceum, William McAloney of EAC, Cris Dumapig of CEU, Wendell Comboy of FEU, Kid Montalbo of La Salle, Kent Salado of Arellano, Christopher Bitoon of St. Clare and Rian Michael Ayon-ayon of PCU are among the notable hopefuls.

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