Elite to pick Belo in bizarre PBA draft

BLACKWATER begins its buildup on Sunday when it adds key additions in its roster, as the Elite try to be relevant in their third season in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

Armed with the top-pick selection, both in the regular and special drafts, the Elite are expected to tap former Far Eastern University (FEU) standout Mac Belo in the PBA special draft for Gilas cadets pool. What remains to be seen is who Blackwater Head Coach Leo Isaac will pick in the regular draft, although there are reports that the Elite management is inclined to tap former Ateneo player Raphael Banal to be its top over selection in the PBA Draft on Sunday at the Robinsons Place Manila, which starts at 4 p.m.

Fifty-three aspirants are in the official list of the draft, with 43-year old Charley Caluya and Jordan de la Paz being scratched on Friday. Caluya failed in the tests of the two-day Draft Combine, while de la Paz did not show up in the event, which is a requirement for a PBA aspirant.

Isaac said there’s zero chance that they will change their mind in picking Belo in the special draft, while Banal was one of the players who impressed him in the Draft Combine.

Simple gumalaw, pero effective. Parang tatay niya,” said Isaac of Banal, son of former PBA forward Joel Banal and played for Hope International University-California after his stint with the Blue Eaglets.

The picks for the special draft was already made by the 12 member teams during their marathon board meeting on Thursday, although the results will only be announced on Sunday.

Phoenix will pick next and Head Coach Ariel Vanguardia said it will be a toss up between Filipino-Canadian Matthew Wright and Arellano University spitfire Jio Jalalon.

But according to various reports, the Fuel Masters have already picked Wright, who will be reunited with Vanguardia. The two had a stint together with the Wesports Malaysia Dragons in Asean Basketball League.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel will pick third, followed by Mahindra, Star, San Miguel, Meralco, NLEX, Rain or Shine, Ginebra again, Alaska and Phoenix.  

The Kings reportedly tapped ex-Santo Tomas stalwart Kevin Ferrer in the special draft while the Enforcer picked ex-Tam center Russel Escoto, based on reports.

The Hotshots, now under new mentor Chito Victolero, selected Jalalon, Warriors went for Ed Daquiaog, the Bolts took RR Pogoy, the Beermen picked Arnold Van Opstal, while the Elasto Painters selected Michael Tolomia, according to reports.

The new PBA season will kick off on November 20. J

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