Chua, Celiz still undecided in joining PBA Rookie Draft
MANILA, Philippines—Despite revelation of a performance from Blackwater forwards Justin Chua and Rob Celiz in the PBA D-League finals, any plans to apply for the coming PBA Rookie Draft will need some serious thought.
Both Chua and Celiz are still undecided whether to join this year’s pool of PBA hopefuls which could be headlined by the likes of center Greg Slaughter and forward Ian Sangalang, among others.
“Di pa ako nakakapagdecide sa ngayon (I haven’t decided yet),” admitted Chua on Friday in the weekly SCOOP (Sports Communicators Organization of the Philippines) forum. “In the next couple of months dun ko pa malalaman (only then I will know).”
With the PBA calendar re-arranged because of the Fiba Asia Championships, the Rookie Draft is set on November 3.
Chua, a former stalwart from Ateneo, got a significant boost in his draft stock after a stellar showing against Slaughter in the Elite’s sweep NLEX in the 2013 Foundation Cup finale.
Chua averaged a solid 17 points in two games, while Celiz, who played one year with National University and whose strength is speed at the 3-4 spots, exploded for 20 in the title-clincher last Tuesday.
“Hingi muna talaga ako ng advice kay coach Leo [Isaac] kasi under din n’ya ako the past few conferences (I’d ask coach Leo Isaac’s advice first because I was under him for the past few conferences)” said Celiz. “Para malaman kung ngayon na nga ba yung tama time (So we’ll know if now is the right time).”
“Kasi pag nagpa-draft ka, ‘one time, big time’ lang yun. Kung hindi ka makuha mahirap na mapasok. Kailangan mo din tingnan kung okay ba mag-padraft ngayon (Because if you get drafted, it’s a one-time, big-time thing. If you’re not picked, it’s hard to get in. You have to see if it’s OK to join the draft now),” echoed Chua.
For Isaac, though, these two forwards who have been vital cogs in Blackwater’s deep run in the playoffs this recently concluded PBA D-League season, are ready for the PBA.
But that’s not the only factor to consider as one’s chances of getting picked largely depends on how deep the incoming draft class is.
“Oo, pwede na. Ready na sila (Yes, they’re ready),” said Isaac, referring to Chua and Celiz.
“Pero siyempre gusto mo early pick ka. Ang question dyan kung sino ba magpapa-draft, kung masikip ba. Pwede pa naman next year. Pwede ka pa magpahinog sa D-League (But of course you want to be an early pick. The question is, who will be drafted if it’s tight. There’s still next year. You can still wait till you’re ripe in the D-League).”
Isaac, meanwhile, said that Blackwater is extending its support to Chua, Celiz and others from the team who wish to join the draft.