PBA: Difficult to hold Draft Combine, admits Marcial

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 06 2021 06:00 PM

PBA: Difficult to hold Draft Combine, admits Marcial 1
The annual Draft Combine may not be held this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. File photo

MANILA, Philippines -- Even as they continue to accept applications for the PBA Rookie Draft, league commissioner Willie Marcial admits it will be difficult to hold the traditional Draft Combine this year because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The two-day Draft Combine, usually held a few days before the draft itself, gives coaches the opportunity to scout the rookie hopefuls -- particularly those who are not as well-known as the top prospects. A strong performance in the combine can also propel a player to a higher selection.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, however, Marcial said it will be quite hard for the league to push through with the combine that is usually held at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.

"Pinag-uusapan namin 'yung combine kung tutuloy pa," Marcial said in an appearance on "Power and Play" recently.

"Kasi kailangan, pinag-usapan nga namin, kailangan naka-test muna sila, katulad nang ginawa natin sa bubble," he added. "Four to five days na self-isolation, then pagdating sa combine, magpapa-test ulit sila."

"So hindi ko alam, baka mahirapan tayo sa combine," he said.

Rather than a physical combine, Marcial said they may just ask the rookie hopefuls to send their own measurements as well as videos to the league, which will then be shared to the coaches of the 12 teams.

"Bibigyan namin sila ng measurement, kung paano pagsukat, eto dapat ang gagawin mo, pengeng video kung may video ka, o kung wala, anong saan ka galing, anong pinaglaruan mo," said the commissioner.

"Sigurado naman 'yung mga ibang coaches, medyo kabisado na nila. Ang problema lang 'yung mga hindi pa kabisado ng mga coaches," he added.

The PBA has set the deadline of application for January 27, with the combine tentatively scheduled for March 10 to 11. The draft itself will be held virtually on March 14.

Marcial is anticipating a long draft that may last up to the fourth round, given the wealth of talent available to teams.

"For sure, abot tayo ng third, fourth round, may pipiliin," he predicted.

"Ang dami eh. Tulad ng mga ga-graduate sa UAAP, NCAA. 'Yung mga nag-MPBL, 'yung mga nag-Chooks-to-Go, lahat 'yun sabi nila papasok," said Marcial. "So ang dami. So, fourth round, dire-diretso pa rin 'yan, sa palagay ko."

The stars of Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 -- Alvin Pasaol, Joshua Munzon, Troy Rike, and Santi Santillan -- have all expressed their intent to join the draft. Players from the ASEAN Basketball League, including Filipino-American guard Jason Brickman, have also applied.

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