MANILA, Philippines - This year’s PBA draft will welcome locals who are at least 21 years old, lowering the floor from 23, and Fil-foreigners 27 or over without passing through two conferences of the D-League. The lottery will be held Nov. 3 two weeks before the next season’s first conference, the Philippine Cup, begins Nov. 17.PBA operations director Rickie Santos said the other day he expects a rich harvest in the draft as qualified players from the coming UAAP and NCAA seasons are cleared to apply as both leagues will have ended by then. While the NCAA allows players to apply for the draft but won’t discharge them until the season is over, the UAAP prohibits players from even applying while the season is ongoing. But because the FIBA-Asia Championships will delay the end of the Governors Cup, the PBA will hold the draft in November instead of August after the UAAP and NCAA seasons.Santos said a local player may apply for the draft if he is 21 by Nov. 17, the start of the season. A player who has completed four years of college may also apply regardless of age. The PBA will announce when applications may be submitted. Santos said deadlines for applications are usually two weeks before the draft for locals and a month for Fil-foreigners to allow league officials to scrutinize their documents. Fil-foreigners are required to turn in a certification of citizenship by the Bureau of Immigration and confirmation by the Department of Justice.Santos mentioned Fil-foreigners must take a two-conference residence in the D-League to qualify for the draft but the exception is when they are 27 or over. Fil-Am guard Stanley Pringle of Penn State is 26 and won’t be eligible for the draft until next year even if he doesn’t pass through the D-League. Pringle is now under contract with the Indonesia Warriors. Two other Fil-foreign stars from the ABL are Moala Tautuaa, 24, and Chris Banchero, 23, both of whom have not played in the D-League.PBA media bureau chief Willy Marcial said the draft will likely include standouts like Greg Slaughter, Nico Salva, Kevin Alas, Jake and Ronald Pascual, Garvo Lanete and Matt Ganuelas. Other possibilities are Bobby Ray Parks, Ryan Buenafe, Jeric Fortuna, Justin Chua, Ian Sangalang, J. R. Cawaling, Isaac Holstein and Raymund Almazan. While Parks hasn’t run out his varsity eligibility, it is rumored he is seriously considering to turn pro as the family breadwinner with his father Bobby now gone.Regarding overseas games, Marcial said Hong Kong is bidding to host a Governors Cup contest in the last week of August. “No decision has been made on out-of-town or out-of-the-country games but at least six provincial cities are offering to host, including Cagayan de Oro, Lucena, Legazpi and Lucena. Bohol and Davao are also interested. We are playing doubleheaders on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday as we catch up with our schedule. We will do eight games a week. If the playoffs go the distance at every stage including the best-of-seven finals, we will end the conference Oct. 25.”
Dean's Corner ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1Marcial said next season, the league is lining up games in three different countries. Bahrain is bidding to host back-to-back games in the last week of November with former PBA star Kenneth Duremdes brokering the deal. Seoul has expressed interest to stage back-to-back games in the last week of August next year. Dubai also wants to host back-to-back games in March with Ahmed and Tess Al Ansari offering to promote. The back-to-back format will involve three or four teams.“No venue has been discussed,” said Marcial. “We’ve played in Hong Kong and Dubai before so we’re familiar with their facilities but we’ll need to visit Bahrain and Seoul to check out where the games will be held if we push through.”PBA commissioner Chito Salud said no new rules will be introduced in the Governors Cup but there may be a few changes for next season. “We’ll take up suggestions on rule changes with the Competition Committee before we make recommendations to the Board of Governors for approval,” said Salud. There is no hint of what new rules are in the offing but it is expected the Competition Committee will review the relevance, fairness and impact of all existing rules.As for next season’s calendar, Salud said the Philippine Cup will begin Nov. 17, Commissioner’s Cup March 7 and Governors Cup June 1. The All-Star Weekend will be on May 22-25 with a site still to be determined. The last day of the season will be on Aug. 13 assuming the playoffs go the full route.
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