Will Holt join PBA draft?

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star

Theres an existing PBA rule that sets an age limit of 30 for Fil-foreigners to apply for the draft but it may be rescinded, depending on the PBA Boards decision that will come during the next governors meeting in the last week of this month. PBA commissioner Willie Marcial isnt committing one way or the other but said recently the board may be inclined to revisit the rule. If the limit is taken out, it will open the doors for Fil-foreigners Jason Brickman and Stephen Holt who are both over 30 to join the coming draft at Market! Market! in Taguig on Sept. 17. The deadline for submission of applications from locals and Fil-foreigners is 5 p.m. on Sept. 10 at the PBA office in Eastwood.

As of yesterday, only three applications were received by the PBA. One of the three came from Filipino-New Zealander Ken Tuffin who played four UAAP seasons with FEU. Tuffin, 26, is a 6-4 sharpshooting forward whose Filipina mother is from Rosario, La Union. A deluge of applicants is expected as the deadline draws near. Among the prospects are players who saw action in the recent PBA On Tour series, including NorthPorts Fran Yu, Ginebras Kim Aurin and Ralph Cu, Converges Jolo Mendoza and TNTs Peter Alfaro, Cliff Jopia, Damie Cuntapay and JV Gallego and NLEXDominick Fajardo.

Justine Baltazar, Ricci Rivero, Kobe Paras, CJ Lane, Zavier Lucero, Deschon Winston, Keith Datu, Brandon Bates, BJ Andrade, Raffy Verano, King Caralipio, Luis Villegas, James Kwekuteye and Kemark Carino are also possibilities. The NCAA allows players in-season to join the draft on condition they finish their varsity commitment before attending PBA practice. The UAAP, however, disallows in-season players to enter the draft. If UAAP follows the NCAA route, graduating players this season could join the draft, including Evan Nelle, CJ Cansino, Mark Nonoy and Ben Phillips.

Heres the draft order for the first round, adjusted to reflect trades: No. 1 Terrafirma, No. 2 Blackwater, No. 3 Rain or Shine, No. 4 Rain or Shine (from Phoenix), No. 5 NorthPort, No. 6 Phoenix (from NLEX), No. 7 NLEX (from Converge), No. 8 Meralco, No. 9 Converge (from Blackwater and TNT), No. 10 Converge (from Magnolia), No. 11 NorthPort (from Ginebra) and No. 12 Terrafirma (from San Miguel Beer). Terrafirma, Rain or Shine, Converge and NorthPort will pick twice on the first round. San Miguel, Ginebra, Magnolia and TNT are without first round picks.

Holt, 31, is the latest to emerge as expressing interest to enter the draft. He holds a Philippine passport and is eligible as a Fil-foreigner if the PBA board lifts the restriction on players over 30. Theres no doubt Holt will make an instant impact in the PBA. The 6-4 guard played for the Atlanta Hawks in two NBA Summer Leagues and has seen action in Germany, Australia, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Kazakhstan, Slovenia and Romania. Holt attended Jesuit High School in Beaverton, Oregon and played four NCAA D-1 years at St. Marys College in Moraga, California. As a senior in 2013-14, he averaged 15.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists, shooting 44.3 percent from beyond the arc and 83.1 percent from the line in 34 games. Holt hit at a 10.8 clip in four years with the varsity, playing in 127 games, including 95 starts.

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