MANILA, Philippines – Former De La Salle University big man Leonard "Santi" Santillan has decided to remain with Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 for the second season of the league.
The 6-foot-5 forward, who is potentially a Top 5 pick in the upcoming 2019 PBA Draft, has withdrawn his name from this year's rookie class.
Apart from his family, one of the reasons the Lapu-Lapu City native made this decision was his good friend Alvin Pasaol -- who also won't join the draft this year.
"'Yung mga taong nasa paligid ko, 'yung family ko, sinabihan ko na may offer galing sa Chooks. Pumayag naman sila, pati mama ko, na hindi muna ko magpra-draft," shared Santillan.
"Si Alvin lagi ko rin kasama, tapos lagi niya ko sinasabihan na para sa bayan naman ito e," he added.
Coming off a two-year stint with La Salle, Santillan completed his D-League residency early this year after playing for Marinerong Pilipino and, later on, the Go for Gold-Benilde Blazers.
During that time, he also played for the Wilkins-Balanga Pure in the country's first league dedicated to 3x3 basketball.
In Chooks 3x3, he was able to play in numerous FIBA 3x3 World Tours and Challengers. Wanting to experience more of those led him to stay for one more year.
"Siyempre, kapag naglalaro ka sa 3x3, may chance ka na makalaban 'yung best of the best sa ibang bansa kaya grabe 'yung commitment ko dito," said the top under-23 3x3 player in the country, who is also ranked as the country's third-best player.
Santillan wants to have one more run with Pasaol after the duo steered Balanga to the top during the Magiting Cup.
"Gusto ko pa makasama si Pasaol," he said.
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