Draft’s first 2 picks missing
Because they have been asked to join the Gilas Pilipinas pool, Moala Tautuaa and Troy Rosario—the prospective 1-2 in the PBA Rookie Draft on Sunday—will miss the formalities of the new milestone in their careers.
Tautuaa, the Filipino- Tongan who many believe has a lock on the top overall pick obtained by Talk ‘N Text, will be the first No. 1 choice to be absent from the proceedings.
He left on Monday along with the rest of the Nationals for Estonia, where Gilas will play in a pocket tournament.
Rosario, a 6-foot-7 product of National University, is considered the finest homegrown big man in the 64-man pool. Like Tautuaa he will not experience the thrill of climbing the stage and wearing the colors of the team that will select him second overall.
KIA Motors holds the No. 2 pick but is said to be keen on trading it to the Tropang Texters, who are rebuilding after winning just one championship in the last two seasons.
Rosario is the only amateur in the 16-man Gilas pool, while Tautuaa made the trip as a practice player to give the other big men in the team a good workout.
Rain or Shine, which picks third, has a ton of options, counting former NCAA MVP Scottie Thompson and Fil-American Chris Newsome.
The Draft happens at Robinsons Place Manila with the aspirants taking part in a two-day Draft Combine starting Wednesday at Hoops Center on Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong.
Coaches of all the 12 PBA teams will get a chance to see the aspirants in action in drills, measurements and actual game play.
Gilas plays host Estonia, the Netherlands and Iceland starting Aug. 20 before flying back home for a brief rest. They will depart for Chinese Taipei in time for the Jones Cup, which the Philippines ruled in 2012.
Tab Baldwin will be using both tournaments to determine his final roster for the Fiba Asia Championship on Sept. 23 to Oct. 3 in Changsha City in China’s Hunan province, where the champion gets the lone continental berth in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
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