During the two-day 2017 PBA Rookie Combine a week ago, Mac Tallo was on the sidelines of the Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City. He did not know why he threw his name into the draft, only believing that he had to do it.
“Naisip ko lang na kailangan ko magpa-draft. Kung hindi naman ako ma-draft, nandiyan pa naman yung D-League,” Tallo, who arrived in Manila from Cebu just a night before the combine began, told Tiebreaker Times.
In his only stint in the PBA D-League, the 6-foot guard showed glimpses of what he can do, waltzing through defenders with ease while providing big baskets. Though getting his numbers, it did not translate to wins as his club team Racal Tile Masters failed to make the Foundation Cup playoffs.
Probably, scouts believed that his D-League stint was just a small sample size of what he can bring to a team. During his collegiate days with Southwestern University, he torched the competition in Cebu that helped him end up with two CESAFI championships and two Most Valuable Player plums.
Last Sunday, this thought was reinforced as Tallo was picked as the eighth overall pick in the 2017 PBA Draft by the TNT Katropa. And it even caught the 22-year-old by surprise.
“Sa totoo lang ang nasa isip ko nun, ‘Ako ba talaga yung tinawag?’ Nagpra-pray lang ako nung time na yun na sana ma-draft ako,” Tallo vividly recalled, “Biglang kinalabit ako ng kaibigan ko na nakuha na ako. Naalala ko pa sinabi ko sa kanya na, ‘Sure ka ba?’ So pag tayo ko, dahan-dahan lang ako naglalakad kasi baka hindi nga ako.
“Sobrang unexpected talaga.”
Waiting on him in TNT are Cebuano players Roger Pogoy and Alfrancis Tamsi which makes him more excited.
“Sobrang excited ako kasi lahat kami bisaya dun, sila Pogoy at Tamsi. Lahat sila mga bisaya!” shared the second-generation cager, who is the son of former PBA star Mark Anthony Tallo.
After a roller-coaster week, the new Katropa could not hide the emotions he was going through. The risk he took was worth it.
“Sobrang worth it! Hindi ko talaga ine-expect na ma-dradraft ako sa first round, expected ko second lang ako,” he shared.
“Sobrang tuwang-tuwa ako na naiiyak dahil natupad na yung dream ko.”
Six years after almost becoming an Ateneo Blue Eagle, Tallo makes his return to Katipunan. This time as a player of TNT.