Three more Gilas players join PBA Draft


MANILA—Three standouts from Smart Gilas Pilipinas, the country’s national team eyeing slots in the next Olympics and World Championships, have declared themselves available for the PBA Annual Draft at the Robinson’s Place Manila.

Mark Barroca, Mac Baracael, and Jason Ballesteros have signed up for the annual talent-picking event, bringing to 20 the number of prospective rookies for the August 28 event—the first official activity of the pro league for the 2011-12 season.

Barroca and Baracael, former teammates at Far Eastern University in the UAAP, are vital cogs of the Smart Gilas squad. Jason Ballesteros is a key reserve. The three are currently in Chinese Taipei, where the Nationals are competing in the William Jones Cup.

The leading candidates for top picks include Eric Salamat, a key player in Ateneo’s three straight UAAP championships, and former University of the East gunner James Martinez.

Interested parties hoping to join the draft—both from here or abroad— have until August 18 to submit their respective applications and other requirements.

Powerade owns the No. 1 pick in the draft after winning the lottery over Air21 and Meralco last Sunday.

Two other members of the national team bound for Wuhan, China, next month for the FIBA-Asia Olympic qualifier for the 2012 London Games already submitted their applications earlier: Marcio Lassiter and Chris Lutz.

Filipinos born or raised abroad must have played for the national team and over the PBA D-League age limit of 26 to be eligible for the Draft.

Application and papers of all applicants will still be scrutinized before the Commissioner’s Office comes out with the final list of candidates eligible to attend the Rookie Camp set August 23 to 26.

Other fresh applicants include San Sebastian teammates Gilbert Bulawan and John Raymundo, the University of the Visayas pair of Mark Ababon and Ariel Mepana, and Santo Tomas’ Allein Maliksi.

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  • Gordon Montoya

    The PBA is breeding ground for mediocrity. Only few players will play hard on a non-expiring contract. I can see these 5 fading into obscurity of PBA rotations. 

  • Anonymous

    Eventually PBA teams will move to the ABL like what San Miguel did.

  • Anonymous

    This is where we see if the Smart Gilas program can really last. After these 5 (Barroca, Baracael, Ballesteros, Lutz and Lassiter) turn pro, who will be left on the team? Just Tiu, Casio, Aldrech Ramos, Ababou (if he hasnt declared yet) and Douthit (everyone else, including Japeth Aguilar, is technically a pro player.) With more than half the team in the PBA, how will the team stay together?

    I propose that the whole program be put under the PBA. For 2 our of the 3 conferences, the national players play for their mother teams, while practicing together as a national pool once a week. Then they come together and compete as a team for the third conference, where all teams can hire 2 imports. The PBA teams that lose players to the national pool are compensated by having the ability to hire taller imports.Since MVP has already shown a willingness to bankroll the entire Smart
    Gilas payroll, he can offer to subsidize 1/3 of the salaries of national
    pool members. And when international competitions such as the Jones Cup or FIBA Asian Championships roll around, the PBA should schedule that in their calendar to coincide with the 3rd conference so that the national team can leave the Philippines to join those tournaments. This way the best players will always be available for the Philippine team.

  • Deacon Blues

    another batch of players coming in…and another batch of players losing their job in the process….the Pba is a sinking ship…same players..same teams…its a bore already…new teams should be added…and a new venue should be built or perhaps the sm arena..

  • Alberto Aragon Jr.

    These players are supposed to be trained to represent the Philippines in all future international competitions. They are now applying for the PBA. What now? Start all over again? Gilas now a training ground for the PBA?

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