Cagayan Valley turned out to be the biggest winner, making the most out of its PBA D-League draft selections in the second annual draft day yesterday at the PBA office in Libis, Quezon City.
As expected, the Rising Suns tabbed Fil-Tongan Moala Tautuaa as their first overall pick in the annual draft.
The 6’7 behemoth turned heads while playing for the Westport Malaysia Dragons in the Asean Basketball League, and drew comparisons to former PBA Most Valuable Player Asi Taulava due to his brute strength, power plays and their Tongan roots.
Such is the expectations for the big man that the Rising Suns believe that he could be the answer to their return to the D-League championship.
“Malaking tulong yan samin. Siyempre puro second place lang kami, pero dahil sa laki niya baka makapasok na ulit kami sa finals,”’ Cagayan Valley assistant coach Nonoy Bonleon said who was stepping in for head coach Alvin Pua.
The Rising Suns then used its second round pick to select College of St. Benilde rising star Jonathan Grey, to further bolster their perimeter firepower who already has Adrian Celada and Ed Daquioag on their roster.
“Yung Grey, patay kung patay yan. Nakikita namin sa kanya na malaki talaga maitutulong samin nung mga picks namin,” Bonleon added.
Tanduay Light also made waves in the draft day as it used its second overall pick to select Ateneo’s Chris Newsome while snagging Roi Sumang as their first pick in the second round.
But the biggest surprise of the draft was the acquisition of ABS-CBN matinee idol Daniel Padilla as the AMA Titans’ final pick in the draft.
Padilla, was selected as the Titans’ 10th pick in the 15th round after Padilla was said to be enrolled in AMA.
The young actor star was a protected pick as the D-League allows school based squads to directly acquire over students from their school.
D-League tournament director Eric Castro confirmed Padilla’s inclusion in the team.
“Yes, siya yun. Eligible siya to play because he’s a student and an endorser of the school,” he said. (Christian Jacinto)