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.