Top prospect Chris Banchero led the 10 early applicants who signed up for the first PBA D-League Rookie Draft set on Sept. 19.
Banchero, the Filipino-Italian star guard in the Asean Basketball League (ABL) for San Miguel Beer, is undoubtedly ready for the big league.
He can’t join the PBA Rookie Draft this November, though, as the pro league requires players with Filipino roots aged 25 and below to play at least two conferences in its developmental tournament.
“The PBA is the place to be, especially in the Philippines, and I can’t wait to play there,” Banchero said after bagging the Finals Most Valuable Player award in San Miguel Beer’s championship romp in the ABL last June.
The 6-foot-1 Banchero, a former Seattle Pacific University standout, grew up in the United States but traces his roots in Ilocos.
Jerrold Nielsen Asaytono, son of former PBA star Nelson Asaytono, also joined the Draft along with Filipino-Australian Hibelito Timothy, Filipino-Americans Alexander Austria and Medel Bencito, Jose Rizal University’s Mark Lopez, Arellano’s Rodan Reducto, PSBA’s Kenneth Agustin, TUP’s Marlon Angeles and Anthony Fran, son of former University of Santos Tomas standout Raymund Fran.
Café France gets to pick first, followed by Cebuana Lhuillier, Boracay Rum, Big Chill, Blackwater Sports, NLEX, Cagayan Valley, Hogs’ Breath and Jumbo Plastic.
Varsity players who will play for a school-based team need not apply for the rookie Draft.