By Nelson Beltran
The Philippine Star 07/24/2006
Far Eastern U’s Arwind Santos is going to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 PBA Rookie Draft.
Sta. Lucia coach Alfrancis Chua has made known their choice this early, saying it’s “no-brainer” considering the 6-foot-6 forward is easily the best player in the draft pool.
“He easily stands out among the draft hopefuls. He’s the best choice,” said Chua of Santos, the biggest name in the list of 54 players who made themselves available for the 2006 PBA draft set Aug. 20 in Market! Market! in Taguig.
“He’ll easily fit with the team since we badly need a big man to shore up our frontcourt,” Chua also said.
What the Realtors are still giving a thorough study on is their choice at No. 6 overall. They acquired the rights for this pick in a previous trade deal with Barangay Ginebra.
Among the other big names in the list are LA Tenorio, Joseph Yeo, Gabby Espinas, Mark Isip, Boyet Bautista, Aaron Aban and Mark Andaya. Fil-Ams Rob Reyes, Joe DeVance and Kelly Williams applied for the draft but it’s doubtful whether they can complete the necessary documents to be eligible for draft day.
Other notable hopefuls are Jay Sagad, Junjun Cabatu, Magnum Membrere, Christian Luanzon, RJ Rizada, Robert Sanz, John Paul Alcaraz, Jonathan Aldave, Frederick Feliciano, Jerome Paterno, Erwin Sta. Maria, Mark Magsumbol, Chico Lanete, Al Vergara, Dennis Daa, JayR Reyes, Donald Dulay and Ronjay Enrile.
Completing the partial list are Glenn Perseveranda of Solano College, Orvie Vidad of Newvic College, Ralph Ibanes, Oliver Gavino and Abraham Santos of UP, Ariel de Castro and Alfie Grijaldo of NU, Ryan Cristobal, Ronnie Bughao and Paul Reguera of San Beda, Philip Butel and Ollan Omiping of UE, Chris Pacana of St. Francis, Richard Alonzo of Adamson, Denver Roque and Nicole Marasigan of San Sebastian, Nilo Sta. Cruz of Letran, Manuel Caceres of PSBA, Bob Ilanga of University of Mindanao, Erian Daja of WNC, Marlon Kalaw of MLQU, Alexander Sibug of Dominican College, Christian Arellano of College of Dupage and Christopher Apaitan of MSU.
Marlou Aquino, Dennis Espino, Kenneth Duremdes, Paolo Mendoza, Alex Cabagnot and Cesar Catli are among key players with a live contract at Sta. Lucia.
The Sta. Lucia coaching staff is likely to infuse new blood into the team following a poor showing in the 2005-06 PBA campaign. The Realtors failed to make it past the wildcard phase in both the Fiesta and Philippine Cups.
With almost half of the Sta. Lucia lineup now without an existing contract, the team may well skip the Sultan Cup Invitational tourney in Brunei where it is scheduled to compete together with the PBA-backed national training pool next month.
While Sta. Lucia owns the first pick, Air21 has the rights for the second and fourth picks and San Miguel the third and fifth picks.
All-Filipino champion Purefoods will pick at No. 9 and coach Ryan Gregorio said they will opt for a big man.