Santiago, Marano lead draft picks in Philippine Super Liga
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - April 2, 2014 - 6:06pm

MANILA, Philippines – Petron Blaze and expansion team AirAsia emerged the biggest winners in Wednesday's Philippine Super Liga All-Filipino Conference drafting at the NBA Cafe at SM Aura when it picked college superstars Dindin Santiago and Abby Marano.

The 6-3 Santiago of National U went to the George Pascua-coached Petron Blaze as its first overall pick while Marano, La Salle's two-time UAAP MVP, was tabbed by his coach Ramil de Jesus of AirAsia as its second pick in rights that was considered historic since it was the first drafting done by the fledgling, nine-month-old league.

Santiago will join a Petron team headed by popular former Ateneo standout Gretchen Ho, Maika Ortiz, Judy Ann Caballejo, Roxanne Pimentel, Aiza Maizo and Rhea Dimaculangan while Marano, who has completed her tour of duty with her alma mater, rejoins her La Salle teammates under de Jesus tutelage.

"We're happy knowing we have picked Abby, she will be an important piece in our campaign this conference," said de Jesus, who was accompanied by the Mikee Romero-owned AirAsia team executives Erick Arejola and Benjo Flores.

Marano, 21, felt the same.

"I feel blessed I will be reunited with my former coach and teammates at La Salle," she said.

Petron Blaze, who also picked first in the latter rounds, chose another National U hotshot Carmina Aganon in the second and Adamson's Mayette Zapantya in the third before passing in the fourth and final round.

AirAsia, for its part, acquired another former Lady Archer, Jeushl Wensh Tiu, May Macatuno and Arianna May Angustia in their next picks round out their selections.

This early, the Lady Patriots are optimistic of their chances.

"It's going to be tough competition but we feel confident of our chances," said Arejola, AirAsia country manager.

RC Cola, picking third, took in Iari Yongco of La Salle-Dasmarinas, Jill Gustilo, Toni Faye Tan and Southlyn Ramos while Cagayan Valley, drawing No. 4, drafted only two and tapped Janine Marciano and Charlene Gillego.

Likewise, PLDT MyDSL got former Ateneo setter Jem Ferrer and ex-San Sebastian mainstay Rusabelle Devanadera, Cignal picked Perpetual Help's Norie Jane Diaz and University of the Philippines' Michiko Castaneda while Generika-Army acquired Christine Agno and Joyce Palad to round it out.

Teams will have a week to sign their acquired players, who were picked from a pool of 27, to a contract, otherwise, the unsigned will be sent to waiver wire where they will be allowed to offer their services to other teams.

Super Liga officials who facilitated the draft were Super Liga president Tatz Suzara and chairman Philipp Ella Juico with Ian Laurel as league commissioner.

AIZA MAIZO AND RHEA DIMACULANGAN ATENEO CAGAYAN VALLEY CARMINA AGANON CHRISTINE AGNO AND JOYCE PALAD DINDIN SANTIAGO AND ABBY MARANO ERICK AREJOLA AND BENJO FLORES LA SALLE MARANO PETRON BLAZE SUPER LIGA
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