PBA Draft

Top prospects Barefield, Abarrientos absent in PBA Draft Combine

Delfin Dioquino

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Top prospects Barefield, Abarrientos absent in PBA Draft Combine

TAKE CHARGE. Shinshu's RJ Abarrientos reacts during a Japan B. League game.

Japan B. League

Sedrick Barefield and RJ Abarrientos miss Day 1 of the PBA Draft Combine alongside other first-round candidates Dave Ildefonso and Evan Nelle

MANILA, Philippines – Several of the top rookie prospects were absent on Day 1 of the PBA Draft Combine as only 62 of the 70 original applicants appeared at the Ynares Arena on Wednesday, July 10.

A strong contender for the top pick, Sedrick Barefield missed the showcase alongside first-round candidates RJ Abarrientos, Dave Ildefonso, and Evan Nelle.

Barefield and Nelle are still in the United States, while Abarrientos and Ildefonso – who are both signed to Strong Group Athletics – failed to attend after playing in a tuneup game against Magnolia ahead of their Jones Cup campaign.

Strong Group forward Caelan Tiongson, also a rookie hopeful, made it on Wednesday to have his measurements taken but did not participate in the scrimmages.

Abarrientos, Ildefonso, and Tiongson will not be present in the draft proceedings on Sunday, July 14, at Glorietta as Strong Group flies to Taiwan on Friday, July 12, a day before its opening game in the Jones Cup.

“It is a bummer that me, RJ, and Dave are going to have to miss the PBA draft, but I will say I think it speaks on our professionalism,” said Tiongson.

“All of us made a commitment to play for Strong, all of us made a commitment to represent the Philippines, and we take that very seriously,” he added. “If we did not have this obligation, I’m sure we’d all be there.”

Bannered by potential No. 1 selection Justine Baltazar, the 62 players took part in skill tests, including reaction time, sprint, lane agility, and vertical jump, in the morning.

In the afternoon, they were divided into six teams and played against each other in five-on-five games. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.