MANILA, Philippines -- San Beda University swingman Calvin Oftana has decided to forego his final season of eligibility in the NCAA and declare instead for the PBA Rookie Draft.
San Beda head coach Boyet Fernandez confirmed to ABS-CBN News that Oftana has informed him of his decision. According to the PBA, the San Beda forward was among the players to submit their draft application on Tuesday, ahead of the January 27 deadline.
"We talked about it for some time now, and I assured him whatever he decides for his future, we, in his San Beda family, will fully support him 100%," Fernandez said.
Immediately, Oftana should be among the favorites to be selected early in the draft process, after his superb final season for the Red Lions and his showing for Gilas Pilipinas in the November 2020 window of the FIBA Asia Cup 2021 qualifiers.
Oftana was the Most Valuable Player of the NCAA Season 95, where the Red Lions swept their way to the finals before losing to Colegio de San Juan de Letran. The 6-foot-5 forward averaged 15.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game in what turned out to be his final year for San Beda.
It is possible that Oftana will be selected in the proposed special round for Gilas Pilipinas, where the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) will take a number of players who will commit to the national team program in preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2023.
Oftana had shown his readiness for the international stage last November, putting up nine points, four rebounds and four assists in a 15-minute stint when Gilas routed Thailand, 93-69.
Fernandez is confident that his player is ready for the next stage.
"I believe Calvin is ready for the PBA," he said. "He will be a valuable asset for the PBA team that will draft him."
"I wish him all the best in his professional career," he added.
Aside from Oftana, also submitting their draft applications are his teammates in the Gilas pool, William Navarro of Ateneo de Manila University and Jaydee Tungcab of University of the Philippines.
Adamson University's Jerrick Ahanmisi also filed his paperwork on Tuesday, as well as Far Eastern University's Alec Stockton.
The 2021 PBA Rookie Draft is scheduled for March 14, in a virtual ceremony.