PBA Draft

UP standouts Zavier Lucero, Ricci Rivero lead record number of PBA draft aspirants

Delfin Dioquino

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UP standouts Zavier Lucero, Ricci Rivero lead record number of PBA draft aspirants

DUNK. Zavier Lucero in action for the UP Fighting Maroons in UAAP Season 84.

UAAP

PBA teams have so much talent to sift through as the league draws a record number of rookie aspirants

MANILA, Philippines – Former University of the Philippines standouts Zavier Lucero and Ricci Rivero are expected to be picked high as the PBA drew a record number of applicants for the upcoming rookie draft.

Key members of the Fighting Maroons’ title squad in UAAP Season 84, Lucero and Rivero lead 128 players who look forward to hearing their names called in the proceedings set at Market! Market! in Taguig City on Sunday, September 17.

Thirty-one Fil-foreigners, including PBA 3×3 standouts Brandon Bates and Keith Datu, applied as the league surpassed the previous record of 97 rookie aspirants in 2022.

Other notable players in the draft pool are Schonny Winston, Fran Yu, Ken Tuffin, Kim Aurin, Raffy Verano, James Kwekuteye, Luis Villegas, Kemark Carino, Sherwin Concepcion, Cade Flores, and John Lloyd Clemente.

Carino and Tuffin are no strangers to the professional ranks after spending time in the Japan B. League and New Zealand National Basketball League, respectively.

John Amores also applied as he looks to make the jump to the big league after a controversial end to his collegiate career, while Dominick Fajardo aims to land with a team after a solid showing for NLEX in the PBA On Tour.

Rookie hopefuls will get to showcase their wares in the Draft Combine, which will run from Tuesday, September 12, to Wednesday, September 13, at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City.

For the fifth time in six drafts, Terrafirma will pick first after another disappointing campaign last season that saw it win only three of its 34 games.

Blackwater will select second followed by Rain or Shine at Nos. 3 and 4, NorthPort at No. 5, Phoenix at No. 6, NLEX at No. 7, Meralco at No. 8, and Converge at Nos. 9 and 10.

NorthPort and Terrafirma will pick again at No. 11 and No. 12, respectively, to end the first round. – 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.