97 players join PBA Rookie Draft

Cebuano forward Leonard Santillan is one of 97 players who applied for the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft. (Chooks to Go photo)

A record number of 97 players have applied for the 2021 PBA Rookie Draft, which is slated on March 14.

This came to be after the deadline for the filing of applications lapsed on Wednesday afternoon. Several prominent amateurs such as La Salle’s deadshot guard Aljun Melecio and seasoned veteran Taylor Statham beat the said deadline, setting the stage for one of the deepest drafts in league history.

The record total broke the previous record of 91 that was held by the 2014 pool, that saw Filipino-American guard Stanley Pringle emerge as the top overall pick.

PBA teams must now discuss among themselves which players they’re going to target with this year’s pool boasting of top-flight talents such as Filipino-Americans Jamie Malonzo, Franky Johnson, Mikey Williams, Jerrick Ahanmisi and Joshua Munzon, Gilas cadets Calvin Oftana, William Navarro and Jaydee Tungcab, and stellar amateurs such as Alvin Pasaol and Cebuano Leonard Santillan.

However, one name that will be absent from the draft pool is Justine Baltazar, La Salle’s talented 6-foot-8 big man who elected not to join this year’s draft to focus on his Gilas stint.

The draft applicants would need to be screened first before a final list of eligible players would be released on March 9. (JNP)


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