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Will Kiefer join PBA draft?

With Bobby Ray Parks opting to sit out the PBA draft on Oct. 29, the question now is will Kiefer Ravena do the same? Will the former Ateneo star known as The Phenom throw his hat in the derby? He has until Oct. 12 to make his decision as that’s the deadline set by the PBA for local applications. The deadline for Fil-foreign applicants has passed with eight making the cut.

The coming draft will likely be an open draw, meaning no special lottery for Gilas cadets unlike last year. La Salle’s Jeron Teng and Thomas Torres are expected to join the draft. They’ve hinted as much. But there’s no clear indication from Ravena whether he’ll jump to the pros. He played two games for Alab Pilipinas in the ABL last season and will be definitely welcomed by Virtual Playground if he decides to play alongside Parks this campaign. Ravena might even follow in Christian Standhardinger’s footsteps and sign up in the ABL but apply for the PBA draft anyway. Standhardinger will be available to play in the PBA only after his ABL contract expires in March.

Now is the right time for Ravena to join the draft if he doesn’t go the ABL route. Even with Standhardinger in the pool, Ravena could be the first overall pick because unlike the Fil-German, he’ll be ready to suit up in the PBA from Day One of the new season which starts Dec. 17. Ravena’s stock got a major boost with his import-like statistics in the ongoing FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Chenzhou. He’s among the tournament’s leading scorers with an average of 22.5 points. Only seven players are hitting at least 20 a game and Ravena is No. 5 in the scoring ladder dominated by imports.

The requirement for locals to be eligible for the draft is to play at least seven games in one PBA D-League conference and for Fil-foreigners in at least seven games in two PBA D-League conferences. Exceptions are if a local or a Fil-foreigner has played for the Philippine national team. An application of a Fil-foreigner will only be accepted if he has a Philippine passport with his dual citizenship certified by the Bureau of Immigration and confirmed by the Department of Justice.

The eight Fil-foreigners who beat the application deadline are Standhardinger, Letran’s Felix Apreku who was born in Israel to a Ghanaian father and a Filipina mother Victoria Gamase from Northern Samar, Arellano’s Zachary Nicholls who was born in Vancouver to a Canadian father and a Filipina mother Edna Corrales from Tarlac, San Beda’s DaVon Potts who was born in California to an American father and a Filipina mother Mary Lou, La Salle’s Jason Perkins who was born in Maryland to an American father and a Filipina mother Jennifer from Pangasinan, Cignal’s Andreas Cahilig who was born in Sweden to a Filipino father Reynoso from Aklan and a Swedish mother Annika Gustafsson, La Salle’s Julian Sargent who was born in California to an American father Maurice and a Filipina mother Carina Salopez of Manila and San Francisco State’s Robbie Herndon who was born in California to a Fil-Am father Bobby and an American mother.

Notably absent from the cast is Fil-Am Jason Brickman, an ABL veteran who’s playing for Mono Vampire of Thailand in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup in Chenzhou. Brickman, 25, is a six-foot point guard who was the ABL Finals MVP in 2015-16 after leading Malaysia to the title. He represented the Philippines with Mighty Sports in the 2016 Jones Cup but that stint may not be considered a qualification for automatic eligibility in the PBA draft. Brickman hasn’t played in the PBA D-League.

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Brickman is in the US Division I record books for leading the entire nation in assists twice in 2012-13 with an 8.5 clip and in 2013-14 with a 9.97 norm, playing for Long Island University. He’s No. 4 in all-time career assist leaders in Division I after Duke’s Bobby Hurley, North Carolina State’s Chris Corchiani and North Carolina’s Ed Cota. Brickman has played as an import in Russia, Germany and Malaysia. He’s only the second Division I player to average a double-double in points and assists in a season and did it as a senior in 2013-14 in joining Avery Johnson to achieve the feat.

As for the early local applicants, there were eight who turned in forms to the PBA. They were Ateneo’s 6-3 Christian de Chavez of Marikina, Colegio de San Lorenzo’s 6-6 JonJon Gabriel of Victoria, Tarlac, FEU’s 6-5 Arvie Bringas of Orani, Bataan, UE’s 6-1 Fil-Indonesian Biboy Enguio of Alabang, Letran’s 6-1 Rey Nambatac of Cagayan de Oro, CEU’s 5-10 John Karlo Casino of Cagayan de Oro, UE’s 6-1 Emil Palma of Malolos, Bulacan and EAC’s 6-5 Sidney Onwubere who was born in Valenzuela to a Nigerian father Vincent and Filipina mother Liza from Masbate.

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