Some of the brightest young stars in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League have submitted their 2019 PBA Rookie Draft applications, Wednesday.
This includes the likes of Allyn Bulanadi and Leo Gabo of the Basilan Steel; Aaron Black of Zamboanga Family Brand Sardines; Chris Bitoon and Aris Dionisio of the Manila Stars; William McAloney of the Cebu Sharks; Rian Ayonayon of the San Juan Knights; Kib Montalbo of the Makati Super Crunch; Arvin Tolentino of the Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards; and Richard Escoto of the Iloilo United Royals.
However, some of these players can only join the PBA club that selects them after the Lakan Cup ends this March.
For others like Bulanadi and Tolentino, though, their respective MPBL clubs are fully aware that the PBA is their priority.
“Alam naman ng mga boss namin ‘yun eh. Grabe nga ‘yung suporta nila. Napag-usapan naman namin ‘yun nung nagpunta kami sa Basilan. Pero kung hindi naman tayo palarin sa PBA, papabalikin naman nila ako. Wala naman problema dun,” said Bulanadi, who will play his second and last game for the Steel on November 28 against Gen San.
“Alam naman ng Basilan ;yun nung pumirma kami sa kanila, na ang priority ni Allyn is PBA. At buong Basilan nakasuporta kay Allyn,” added Bulanadi’s manager Jackson Chua, who also is the president of Phenom Sports.
Meanwhile, Tolentino is norming 8.2 points and 6.7 rebounds in six games for Nueva Ecija.
On the other hand, Gabo, Black, Montalbo, Ayonayon, Dionisio, and Bitoon will play out the entire MPBL season.
“Kay Leo, kahit anong mangyari tatapusin namin ‘yung MPBL. ‘Yung PBA, sa March pa naman simula diba? Kaya sakto ‘yun sa ending ng MPBL. Tatapusin talaga ni Hessed ‘yung MP,” said Chua about Gabo.
“Excited, nakakakaba, pero I’m ready for it. Ever since I started playing, dream ko maabot ‘yung PBA,” said Montalbo, who is averaging 4.7 points, 2.2 assists, and 1.8 steals in 19 games for Makati. “[But I] Will finish MP season before going to PBA.”
As of publishing, it is still unknown whether Escoto and McAloney will remain in the MPBL if they get drafted.