The depth of the PBA Rookie Draft will be affected if Fil-foreign players like Jason Brickman, Brandon Rosser, Jeremiah Gray and Taylor Statham cannot complete their documentation.
Head coaches Yeng Guiao of the NLEX Road Warriors, Topex Robinson of the Phoenix Fuel Masters and Caloy Garcia of Rain or Shine certainly think so.
“May March 5 deadline pa para sa mga Fil-Ams na hindi pa kumpleto yung mga documents nila,” Guiao said.
“That will determine yung talagang depth ng draft pick natin. Kasi ang daming magagaling doon. I think 18 players are still incomplete in their documents. So kung sa 18 na yun kalahati yung hindi makakumpleto, medyo magsa-suffer yung depth ng draft natin.”
Guiao’s NLEX squad will be picking not just once, but twice, and will be selecting early. The Road Warriors hold the rights to their No. 3 and No. 4 picks and were determined not to give up any of them despite numerous offers received from various teams in exchange for quality players.
For the seven-time PBA champion coach, these picks will be valuable as they continuously build on their future.
Robinson’s team, Phoenix Super LPG, overachieved in last year’s bubble tournament, as it wound up a win away from securing a seat in the championship round. Phoenix lost a five-game series against eventual runner-up TNT Tropang Giga.
The Fuelmasters were among the busiest squads in the off season. They figured in two major trade transactions that landed them veteran forward Vic Manuel, cerebral guard Chris Banchero and moved up from being No. 10 in the first round of this year’s Rookie Draft to number seven.
Of course, the team had to pay a stiff price in unloading Calvin Abueva as part of the Banchero trade to Magnolia and its first round pick next year and guard Brian Heruela to Alaska for the services of Manuel.
“When we were observing the movements, obviously we were updated with the movements of the Fil-Ams. We wish they could play and get the papers done. There’s always a possibility rin na baka hindi. So the No. 6 that we have, considering that we have a complete list right now, that No. 6 could be the No. 3 of last year’s draft. Ang taas ng value noon,” said Robinson.
“And the opportunity of getting a Vic Manuel is napakalaking bagay.”
Garcia and the Elasto Painters are picking No. 5 and the young mentor believes that without the Fil-Ams, things are going to be a lot more difficult in terms of making his selection.
“Kung andyan kasi yung mga Fil-Ams and they’ll be eligible, picking at No. 5 is easier and the possibility of having the player on your wish list could happen. Then you’re going to fill up the void needed by your team in the second round. Lalo pa tatlo yung draft picks namin in the second round,” said Garcia.
Brickman, Rosser and Gray are among those notable Fil-foreign players, who submitted their application for this year’s draft. They were teammates at Alab Pilipinas, which competed in the Asean Basketball League two years ago.
Statham is a 3×3 superstar.
These Fil-foreign players have yet to submit the required documents and have until March 5 to submit all the requirements.