Fil-Am Ryan Arambulo, Mac Belo top day 1 of PBA Rookie Draft Combine

Jane Bracher
Arambulo finishes in the top 5 of all the tests while Belo showcases his athletic ability

TOP PERFORMERS. (From L-R) Jammer Jamito, Raffy Banal, Mac Belo, and Ryan Arambulo are the top performers from day 1 of the 2016 PBA Rookie Draft combine. Photo from PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines – Fil-Am swingman Ryan Arambulo as well as national team and Far Eastern University standout Mac Belo topped a field of 55 aspirants in the skills test on day 1 of the 2016 PBA Rookie Draft combine on Wednesday, October 26, at the Gatorade Hoops Gym in Mandaluyong.

The 26-year-old Arambulo out of California State Fullerton was in the top 5 of all 6 tests and drills designed to give coaches an idea of each player’s physical capabilities.

Arambulo, who stands 6-foot-2 and played in the D-League with Wangs and AMA, showcased his speed when he topped the shuttle run with a time of 47.22 seconds and the 3/4 court sprint with a 2.82 second-clip.

“This combine I’ve been waiting for this for almost 4 years,” said Arambulo, who was second the standing vertical leap (3.31 in) and third in the maximum vertical leap test (39.0 in).

“All that hard work, dedication, patience, it all plays a part. I’m just so blessed I happened to perform well today.”

Arambulo was a former trackster back in college and played various Filipino basketball leagues. He was eventually scouted by a PBA agent and told him about a potential opportunity to play in the Philippines.

“I’ve always wanted to play pro so I just decided to make the leap and make the most out of it,” he shared. “I prepared myself, I’ve been working really hard just for this moment so any coaches that want to give me a chance I’m ready to make the most out of it.” 

Meanwhile, Gilas cadet Belo somehow made an even stronger case for himself as the prospective top draft pick this year as he showcased his athletic ability as this pool’s highest leaper.

The 6-foot-4 Belo, a former UAAP Finals MVP, recorded the best height in the standing vertical leap (33.7 in) and the maximum vertical leap (43.5 in).

His versatility, athleticism, on top of his high basketball IQ made him a perennial matchup problem for coaches back in the UAAP, and it’s expected to land him the first overall pick in the draft.

Belo, along with 11 others, will be part of the special Gilas draft to take place before the regular draft on Sunday, October 30 at Robinsons Ermita.

The other top performers from day 1 of the combine include Jammer Jamito with his 11.31-second best finish in the lane agility drill, as well as Raffy Banal, who had an 11.3-meter best in the maximum medicine ball throw.

Rookie applicants will get to showcase more of how they play with scrimmages set for day 2 of the combine on Thursday, October 27.  –