(The Philippine Star) – September 23, 2020 – 12:15am
MANILA, Philippines – Even as the PBA is now preoccupied with getting the table ready for the 45th season restart in the Clark bubble, the next draft is in the mind of commissioner Willie Marcial, who said yesterday there may be tweaks in the eligibility rules to restudy and submit to the Board of Governors for approval.
At the moment, it’s not sure if the draft will be held late this year or early the next. If the restart is approved by the IATF to begin October 9, the season may extend to December 13 to include a maximum of 49 game days. The options are to do the draft after the Finals and before Christmas or early the next year. To avoid confusion, Marcial said he will suggest to the Board a reference to the draft by season not by year. So if it isn’t held in 2020, it will be referred to as the Season 46 draft.
An eligibility rule that is sure to be revisited is the minimum games to play in the PBA D-League which was suspended after only three playing days of the Aspirants Cup last March. The PBA D-League plays two conferences a year, the Aspirants and Foundation Cups. This year, the Foundation Cup will not be held because of the pandemic, taking away the opportunity to gain eligibility for the draft. Under the PBA draft rules, locals are required to play at least seven games and Fil-foreigners, nine in the PBA D-League. Fil-foreigners who are 28 and over may join the draft without passing through the PBA D-League. It’s possible the PBA D-League requirement will be removed for the coming draft.
Marcial said a player who doesn’t join the draft within two years of his eligibility may be exempted from a ban by submitting a letter of explanation and appeal. If the reason to skip the draft is because of an opportunity to play overseas, the player must submit a copy of his foreign team contract to the PBA aside from the letter of explanation and appeal. Thirdy Ravena, for instance, has been offered to play in the Japan league and may skip the draft once more. Ravena became eligible last year but opted out. Ravena has advised the PBA of his plans but will still need to submit a letter and copy of his Japan league contract.
Because the NCAA and UAAP suspended games this year, there may be a dearth of college players declaring for the next draft. Chooks To Go 3×3 players Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan and Troy Rike declined the draft last year and if they skip once more, a ban may be the consequence unless an appeal is made. San Miguel Alab ABL player Andrei Caracut, Jamie Malonzo and James Laput are expected to join the draft. Fil-foreigners Jason Brickman, Jeremiah Gray and Jordan Heading reportedly hope to apply but while they carry a Philippine passport, the PBA requires a Bureau of Immigration certificate of recognition and Department of Justice affirmation.