PBA's next rookie draft could see some changes

The next PBA Rookie Draft could be held in early 2021. KC Cruz

Some changes are in order for the next PBA Rookie Draft, which could be held shortly after the 2020 season wraps up mid-December.

Though the focus is primarily on the resuming the suspended Philippine Cup in a bubble in Clark, Pampanga, commissioner Willie Marcial said Saturday that the league is already considering schedules for the rookie proceedings.

"Tinitingnan namin ng December or January," he said on the Power & Play radio show hosted by former commissioner Noli Eala.

In order to avoid confusion, Marcial also said the league will reference this year's draft as the Season 45 Draft since there is a chance the event could take place early next year.

"Sinabi ko sa staff natin na wala na 'yung year," he explained. "Kapag na-draft ka ng 2020 season pero 2021 ['yung mismong draft], magkakalituhan."

The D-League requirement will be revisited, according to Marcial, since the Aspirants and Foundation Cups were cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PBA rules state that local draft aspirants are required to play at least seven games in one D-League conference, while Filipino-foreign applicants need to play at least seven in each of the two conferences.

"Sasabihin ko sa mga governors na wala nang requirements 'yung D-League muna kasi hindi nakapag D-League," he said. "Kapag hindi ka nakapag D-League, pwede ka nang dumeretso sa draft depende sa edad mo."

Collegiate schools can also write a letter to the league to ask if players can return to their respective teams to finish a UAAP or NCAA season after being drafted by a PBA team, Marcial said.

"Kunwari sasabihin ng eskwelahan, 'Pwede bang i-draft tapos bumalik sa amin?' Depende. Sumulat sila sa PBA tapos itatanong ko sa board. Papayagan naman siguro ng board, tapos [sa team] 'yung rights mo," he said.

If a vaccine is made available early next year or if the bubble is successfully implemented from October to December, Marcial said the league is still looking at starting the 46th season around March.

"Sana may vaccine na. Kung magiging successful naman 'tong bubble na 'to... nakaabang lang tayo," said Marcial.