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Fil-Tongan leads draft aspirants

Fil-Tongan Moala Tautuaa looms as a strong candidate for the top overall pick when the PBA D-League holds its 2014 Rookie Draft on Monday at the PBA Office in Libis, Quezon City.

Tautuaa, 25, is being groomed as the first overall selection of the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns in this year’s draft owing to his impressive resume.

The 6-foot-7, 237 lb forward went undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft and currently plays for the Westports Malaysia Dragons of the ASEAN Basketball League, averaging 11.7 points and 7.4 rebounds this season.

Cagayan owns the top pick after finishing sixth in last season’s Aspirants’ Cup and 10th in the Foundation Cup. Tanduay Light has the second pick followed by CafeFrance, Jumbo Plastic and Wangs’ Basketball.

Completing the draft order are new teams AMA University, Bread Story, Hapee Toothpaste, M-Builders, MP Hotel and Racal Motorsales Corp.

Tautuaa is among the 155 aspirants that applied for the second staging of the D-League draft. 18 Fil-foreigners have also joined the proceedings, including Fil-Am Jeramy King, who was undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft.

The field also includes 46 local players currently seeing action in the UAAP, NCAA and NAASCU.

“We are very happy with the interest generated by our Rookie Draft. The list indicates that we have a rich pool of talent to select from. After going through the list, I am convinced that we will have a very competitive 2015 season,” said PBA Commissioner Chito Salud.