The PBA released on Monday, March 8, the final list of applicants for the upcoming 2021 Rookie Draft which saw a reduction to 86 aspirants as some Fil-foreign players failed to get necessary documents.
A record of 97 hopefuls were initially eligible to join the draft slated on Sunday, March 14, but the league removed 11 players after failing to secure papers from the Department of Justice and Bureau of Immigration.
Potential first-round picks Jason Brickman, Jeremiah Gray and Taylor Statham were the big names who missed the cut.
Also scratched from the draft class were Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, Tyrus Hill, Christopher Cancio and John Paul Gulfo. JJ Espanola, Ezra Ocampo, John Paul Zarco and Neilowen De Jesus withdrew their applications.
Top 3×3 player Joshua Munzon and former La Salle high-flyer Jamie Malonzo are still tabbed as the top picks in this year’s draft which also has Munzon’s fellow 3×3 stars Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan, Troy Rike and Franky Johnson.
NCAA MVP Calvin Oftana (San Beda), NCAA champion Larry Muyang (Letran), Jerrick Ahanmisi (Adamson), Ben Adamos (Perpetual), Aljun Melecio, Andrei Caracut and James Laput (La Salle) are also in the list.
Fil-Australian guard Jordan Heading, William Navarro (Ateneo), Jaydee Tungcab (UP) and Tzaddy Rangel (NU) are slated to be picked first in the special Gilas round.
Terrafirma is set to make the first pick for the third straight year followed by NorthPort, NLEX (No. 3 and No.4), Rain or Shine and Alaska. Rounding up the first round are Phoenix, Terrafirma, Meralco, Magnolia, NorthPort and Ginebra.
The Dyip, the Batang Pier and the Road Warriors (last two picks) comprise the Gilas draft.
The PBA Draft may be held virtually as a health and safety precaution amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Draft Combine originally scheduled on March 10 and 11 was canceled to eliminate the risk of exposure to the deadly virus.