16 Fil-foreigners in PBA draft

Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - August 4, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sixteen Fil-foreign players applied for the PBA draft set at Robinsons Place Manila on Aug. 23 and at least four are expected to be chosen on the first round with 6-7 forward Moala Tautuaa the consensus top overall pick.

Tautuaa, 26, is of Tongan descent like Asi Taulava. His mother Romanita is Filipina. He attended Chadron State, a public college in Nebraska, and was recruited by coach Ariel Vanguardia to play for the Westports Malaysia Dragons in the ABL in 2013. Tautuaa hit 62.6 percent from the field and compiled 1,160 points in his four-year varsity career. As a Chadron senior, he averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 rebounds.

Tautuaa played two seasons in the ABL. To be eligible for the PBA draft, he played for Cagayan Valley and Cebuana Lhuillier in the PBA D-League. Talk ‘N’ Text is likely to tap Tautuaa as the first overall pick. The Texters took the No. 1 spot in a trade with Blackwater.

The other Fil-foreigners who are potential first round picks are 6-2 Maverick Ahanmisi, 6-6 Norbert Torres and 6-2 Chris Newsome. Ahanmisi, 24, is the oldest of three children. His father Victor is Nigerian and mother Marissa Frankera is Filipina. Ahanmisi played with the University of Minnesota varsity for three years under coach Tubby Smith and one under coach Richard Pitino. He scored a college career high 21 points against High Point University, Arizona Reid’s alma mater, in 2014.

Ahanmisi’s other career highs are six rebounds, six assists and three steals. He averaged 2.1 points and 10.6 minutes as a freshman, 2.7 and 13.3 as a sophomore, 3.3 and 10.5 as a junior and 3.0 and 9.6 as a senior. The year before enrolling at Minnesota, Ahanmisi averaged 20 points at Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley, California. Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy said if Ahanmisi is still available when the Elite’s turn to draft comes at No. 9, the Fil-Nigerian will be named. Ahanmisi played for Café France in the PBA D-League and led the Bakers to the Foundation Cup crown this past season.

Torres, 25, was born in Toronto. Both his parents Cirilo and Dinia de la Cruz are from Calumpit, Bulacan. He was recruited out of high school in Canada and played four years with the La Salle varsity in the UAAP. Torres has played twice for the Philippine team, first with the U18 team at the SEABA Championships in 2008 and second, with the Gilas Cadets who won the gold at the SEA Games in Singapore this year. Torres suited up for Cebuana in two PBA D-League conferences to gain eligibility for the PBA draft.

Newsome, 25, played three years with the New Mexico Highlands varsity and two seasons with Ateneo in the UAAP. His father Eric is from Philadelphia while his mother Carmelita Duque is Filipina. Newsome saw action for Hapee in the PBA D-League.

Other Fil-foreign players who are in the sights of scouts are 6-0 Ryan Wetherell of the University of Southern California, 6-1 Mike DiGregorio of McKendree University, 6-0 Krismoir Rosales of Hope International, 6-foot Jerramy King of AMA University, 5-11 Simon Enciso of Notre Dame de Namur University and 5-11 Jawhar Purdy of California State Stanislaus.

Wetherell, 27, was a scorching scorer with Laguna in the FBA, firing 38 against Pampanga and 32 against Bulacan State. DiGregorio, 24, averaged 15.7 points and shot 42.1 percent from beyond the arc as a senior at McKendree in 2013-14. DiGregorio’s uncle Ernie was a former NBA star who played for the Buffalo Braves, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Rosales, 24, played for Jumbo and Tanduay in the PBA D-League. His father Nielon is from Morong, Bataan and mother Jean is from Ibajay, Aklan. He was born in Long Beach, California. In 2013, Rosales was named Player of the Year in the Golden State Athletic Conference and an NAIA All-American.

King, 24, played sparingly in two seasons with the Long Beach State varsity in 2009-10 and 2010-11, averaging less than a point. But King, whose mother Jocylane Dinsay is Filipina, has NCAA Division I pedigree. Enciso, 24, calls himself the Filipino D-Rose and comes from Notre Dame de Namur which is PBA veteran Nic Belasco’s alma mater. He played for Cebuana in the PBA D-League. Purdy, 23, is a pure point guard who has trained at the Joe Abunassar Impact Basketball Academy in Las Vegas. His father William is from Jackson, Mississippi while his mother Fatima De la Cruz is from Davao City.

The rest of the Fil-foreign draft applicants are 5-9 Abel Galliguez, 25, of John Brown University, 6-2 Josh Cubillo, 27, of the AMA Titans, 5-11 Alexander Austria, 24, of San Francisco State, 6-1 Dale Hodges, 31, of Canberra University, 6-1 Randy Dilay, 24, of Dominican University and 6-4 Leodaniel de Year, 26, of San Sebastian College. Cubillo played at Mater Dei High School which produced former Ginebra import Cedric Bozeman of UCLA, PBA legend Vince Hizon, one-time Gilas naturalized player candidate Jamal Sampson, NBA veteran LeRon Ellis and former Phoenix Suns guard D. J. Strawberry.

As of yesterday, 27 locals applied for the draft.  The deadline for Fil-foreigners to apply was last June 30 while the last day for locals to apply is Aug. 7. So far, NU star Bobby Ray Parks has not applied. He recently played for Dallas in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and is hoping to be called up to the Mavericks training camp. His NU coach Eric Altamirano said even if Parks applies for the PBA draft, it will be a risk for a team to pick him with the chance of making it to the NBA still a possibility.

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