2 Fil-Am hotshots join PBA draftBy Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Two Filipino-Americans likely to emerge among the top picks signed up yesterday for the 2012 PBA Rookie Draft.
Cliff Hodge and Chris Ellis—two versatile forwards who powered the NLEX Road Warriors to multiple titles—filed their application to turn pro and join the draft slated on Aug. 19 at Robinsons Midtown in Manila.
Hodge, who led a virtual all-star NLEX cast along with Ellis, towed the Road Warriors to a remarkable third straight PBA D-League championship last month.
The 6-foot-5 Hodge averaged 14.38 points, 9.8 rebounds, 1.46 assists, 1.23 steals and 2.4 blocks in the last conference to capture his first MVP award.
Hodge, a Hawaii Pacific University standout who traces his roots in Sulu, also teamed up with Ellis in the Philippine team that bagged the gold in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games.
Ellis, who saw action with the University of Mary Hardin Baylor, normed 7.76 points, 3.38 rebounds and 1.3 assists for the Road Warriors.
Both Hodge and Ellis had initially been rumored to skip this year’s draft, but their agent, Charlie Dy, said yesterday that many pro teams have been inquiring about the topnotch duo.
A homegrown standout, Vic Manuel, also submitted his name to the draft yesterday a month after leading Cebuana Lhuillier to a second straight Final Four D-League stint.
The wide-bodied Manuel, a former varsity star for the Philippine School of Business Administration, won MVP honors in both the D-League and the Philippine Basketball League (PBL).
The Commissioner’s Office will release the preliminary list of foreign aspirants with Filipino roots on July 10.
JV Casio and Paul Lee topped the Rookie Draft last year.