After announcing that any PBA draft aspirant who fails to attend the two-day agility test will be taken off the list, PBA officials were forced to eat their words after boxing champion Manny Pacquiao failed to appear but was given a chance to send his biometrics at some later date.
Pacquiao was one of the few draft aspirants who failed to show up. He is reported to be still in Sarangani, the province he represents in Congress, and will return to Manila on Friday.
That will be the time he will submit his biometrics, the PBA said.
“It should have been last week,” said PBA Commissioner Chito Salud, referring to Pacquiao’s biometrics measurement at the league’s office. “It could be anytime this week when he arrives in Manila from GenSan.”
If he fails to submit to the required biometrics measurement at the PBA Office, Pacquiao may be delisted, said a PBA source.
Pacquiao’s professional basketball plans have created what amounts to a circus in the coming PBA season.
Although no coach, player or PBA official was willing to be quoted, nearly all of them have reservations about Pacquiao’s plan to play in the PBA.
“This is not boxing,” said one. “He will surely be the laughing stock of the league.”
Another said Pacquiao can get away by acting as team coach because he will have several assistants. “But how can he get away being a player in the same class as the others?”
He first announced that he will be the head coach and later also disclosed that he planned to join the PBA draft to become player-coach of Kia Motors, one of two new members of the PBA.
He reportedly has been practicing with his team and is also helping devise plays for the Kia squad.
His American promoter, Bob Arum, nearly fell off his seat when informed that Pacquiao has been busy with playing basketball.
He advised Pacquiao to reconsider saying basketball and boxing do not mix.
Pacquiao apparently is not about to follow Arum’s advice even as they prepare for a November fight in Macau.
Meanwhile, Fil-Am guard Stanley Pringle, a top pick prospect of Globalport, felt good with his performance at the end of the 2014 Gatorade PBA Draft Combine at the Hoops Gym in Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong City.
Pringle showcased his talent, including that of a ‘killer crossover’ he did during a game, his ability to find open teammates, his passing skills even on traffic and quick first step towards the basket.
However, what Pringle displayed was just a small part of his repertoire.
“It was good, but I just tried not to do too much,” said the 6-foot-1 Pringle, who arrived last Friday after he and Globalport made an initial agreement that will make him the No. 1 overall rookie pick.
The 2014 PBA Rookie Draft is set on Sunday at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila.
Sporting a look similar to NBA superstar James Harden of the Houston Rockets and using No. 23 in honor of basketball idol Michael Jordan, Pringle topped the ¾ court sprint with a time of 3.06 seconds during the agility test.
The 27-yer-old Pringle finished with four points, six rebounds, one assist and a steal for Team-C, which lost to Team-D, 23-47, in a 20-minute game.
“The ball was a little slippery, that was the other players were saying too. We used new basketballs, instead of the old ones. But it was cool just to be out there showing what you can do,” said Pringle.
“I’m excited for Sunday’s draft, it’s a blessing to be considered (by Globalport) with the No. 1 pick. It’s going to be a great experience, but I know the challenge is to help the team win games,” he added.
Former San Beda College guard Jes Mar Villahermosa led Team-C’s scoring with eight points, while Cody Tesoro from Western Oregon University contributed seven points.
STI College’s MacLean Sabellina shone the brightest for Team-D as he scored 12 points, while Anthony Semerad added eight points and three rebounds. Gilas cadets Jake Pascual and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser scored five apiece.
“It was a great experience, not just for me but for the rest of the applicants,” said Ganuelas, who also played for Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in the D-League that last two years.
“As for me, I’m ready for the draft, whoever takes me on Sunday, I’ll be happy. It doesn’t matter where I’ll play. My concern is to make the PBA and help that team as a rookie, and hopefully develop my skills,” added Ganuelas-Rosser, who finished on top in the standing vertical leap (36.18 inches) and maximum vertical leap (68 inches).
Rain or Shine, which owns the second overall pick in the draft, is said to be interested in taking the 6-foot-5 Rosser in hopes to strengthen the wing position.
The complete first round of the rookie draft will have Barako Bull picking No. 3, followed by NLEX (4), Alaska (5), Barangay Ginebra (6), ‘grand slam’ champion San Mig Super Coffee (7), Barako Bull (8), Rain or Shine (9), Barako Bull (10), Kia (11) and Blackwater (12) – another expansion team.
Also in the agility test, Ateneo’s JM Tiongson topped the Shuttle Run Test (17.2 seconds) while University of Cebu’s Quinton Heruela was the best in lane agility drill (8.57 seconds).
There were other familiar names in the final day of the draft combine, including former San Sebastian player Ronald Pascual, who has finally decided to join the after pulling out two years ago.
Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao did not attend the draft combine, but his cousin Rene Pacquiao – a 6-foot-5 forward from Southwestern University – had two points and two rebounds for Team-B in a 26-29 defeat to Team-A.
There were also who, years ago, were involved in controversies – Paulo Orbeta, formerly of College of St. Benilde and Vincent King Importante, a one-time member of the Philippine Christian University high school team, which was found falsifying the documents of the player that led to the school’s expulsion from the NCAA back in 2007.
“Naka-move on na ako from that experience. Now I’m hoping na sana mabigyan naman ako ng chance to play in the PBA,” said Orbeta who played for Pacific Pipes and Derulo in the PBA DLeague.
As for Orbeta, who was involved in alleged game-fixing some 10 years ago that led to his disbandment in the NCAA, he said that he learned how to embrace his bitter past with the help of his family and God.
“At first na-apektuhan ako ng todo, I felt betrayed. Pero natutuhan ko na din tanggapin. Now I’m happy to be here,” said Orbeta, who last played competitive basketball as part of the Welcoat Paints champion team that won a PBL title back in 2005.