Largest-ever PBA rookie draft pool set as 97 players submit applications

The PBA set a new record for total draft hopefuls and Fil-foreign aspirants after closing its doors on applications Wednesday afternoon.

A total of 97 applicants reportedly passed their requirements at the end of the submission window, shattering a previous high of 91 recorded in the 2014 rookie proceedings.

Headlining the pool of talents are Joshua Munzon and Jamie Malonzo, who are both projected to go within the top three of the draft.

In the running as possible first-rounders are Gilas Pilipinas cadet Calvin Oftana, 3x3 stars Alvin Pasaol, Santi Santillan and Franky Johnson, 2018 NCAA Rookie of the Year Larry Muyang, and Adamson top gun Jerrick Ahanmisi.

Also set to merit long looks are the likes of La Salle's Aljun Melecio, San Sebastian's RK Ilagan, UP's Jun Manzo, 3x3 forward Troy Rike, and Gilas cadets Jaydee Tungcab and William Navarro, among others.

Thirty-one of the submissions are Fil-foreigners, doubling the 15-man record set in 2015.

Leading the way are Alab Pilipinas standouts Jason Brickman, Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser and Jeremiah Gray and FIBA 3x3 veteran Taylor Statham, although all Fil-foreign prospects must still submit the Department of Justice (DOJ) affirmation and Bureau of Immigration (BI) certification in order to prove their Filipino citizenship.

Melecio and Statham were among the last applicants to beat the Wednesday deadline.

Statham, the 28-year-old big man who has had stints in the NBA G League before seeing action in Canada, China, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, sent in his application online Tuesday evening, while Melecio reportedly applied through his agent Marvin Espiritu hours before the deadline.