PSL Draft: Petron picks Santiago; AirAsia tabs 2-time MVP Maraño
MANILA, Philippines — Determined to improve from a last place finish the last time out, Petron Blaze Wednesday made former National University star Aleona Denise “Dindin” Santiago the top pick of the first Philippine Superliga draft.
The 6-foot-2 Santiago, a former best spiker in the UAAP who also led NU to back-to-back Final Four appearances the past two years, was a logical choice for a team looking to add firepower to its retooled squad.
“We know we’re getting a complete player (in Santiago),” said Petron star Gretchen Ho, one of only two holdovers from the team last season, during the draft held at NBA Café in Taguig City. “She will give us confidence. We know we have an excellent player. She will give us offense and defense with her blocking.”
The Superliga’s second season kicks off May 10 at Philsports Arena.
Expansion team AirAsia selected former UAAP Most Valuable Player Abigail Maraño from La Salle as the second pick, reuniting her with former Lady Spikers Michelle Gumabao, Cha Cruz and Melissa Gohing.
At the Mikee Romero-owned squad, Maraño will also be reunited with Ramil de Jesus, her coach at La Salle, where she won three UAAP titles in four years.
“I’m just glad to be playing with former teammates again and of course, coach Ramil,” said Maraño, whose selection was witnessed by AirAsia manager Erick Arejola. “I can help the team be competitive immediately.”
RC Cola used the third pick on former La Salle Dasmariñas star Iari Yongco, while Cagayan Valley selected Janine Marciano at No. 4. PLDT snapped up former Ateneo setter Jem Ferrer as the fifth pick, while Cignal took Norie Diaz from Perpetual Help.
Army, now playing under the banner of Generika Drugs, added Christine Agno and Joyce Palad to its lineup.
Petron also got former NU player Carmina Aganon in the second round and ex-Adamson standout Mayette Zapanta in the third.
The AirAsia Lady Spikers also got another former DLSU player in Wensh Tiu, before picking May Macatuno from Adamson in the third round and Arianna Angustia.
Jill Gustilo, Southlyn Ramos and Toni Faye Tan went to RC Cola, while Charlene Gillego was picked by Cagayan. Rysabelle Devanadera of San Sebastian was snapped up by PLDT, Michiko Castaneda went to Cignal and Joyce Palad was acquired by Army.
Teams have seven days to tender an offer to their draft picks, said league commissioner Ian Laurel.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.