ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISSI DE OCAMPO LOOMS AS NO. 1 PBA DRAFT PICK
MANILA, December 29, 2003 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - St. Francis of Assisi ace slotman Ranidel de Ocampo, a vital cog in the Philippine team that reigned supreme in the recent Vietnam SEA Games who’s tipped to be chosen No. 1 in the coming PBA Annual Draft, is among those expected to troop to the PBA office today to beat the deadline for the draft list-up. Ervin Sotto, Marc Pingris and Gary David are the other SEA Games standouts dead-set on joining the draft pool that already features their national teammates James Yap, Wesley Gonzales and Rich Alvarez.
Deadline for draft registration is 5 p.m. at the PBA office inside the University of Life Complex in Pasig. The draft exercise is set Jan. 16 at the Glorietta in Makati.
"Maga-apply na ako sa PBA draft para marami akong options. Kung ma-draft ako okay, kung hindi naman okay din dahil pwede akong bumalik sa PBL team ko at pwede pa akong maglaro sa national team," said De Ocampo in a previous interview with The STAR after his SEAG stint.
"Pero talagang gusto ko na rin sumampa sa PBA dahil kailangan ko ng pera," added De Ocampo.
De Ocampo could well command a big pay in the pros as the 6-foot-5 behemoth is likely to follow the footstep of elder brother Yancy, emerging as top choice in the PBA draft.
Ranidel, who has just turned 22 a few days back, is reportedly Shell’s prospect for the No. 1 overall pick. Yancy was the top choice by FedEx two years ago.
Yap, Pingris, David, Gonzales, Alvarez and Sotto are also first-round prospects together with ABC men’s championship campaigners Mark Omolon, Bernzon Franco and Willy Wilson, UE pointguard Paul Artadi and 6-foot-9 Fil-foreign player Joaquin Thoss.
If Shell passes up on Yap, Purefoods officials said they will use their rights on the No. 2 pick on the prolific UE wingman. Yap led the RP team in scoring in Vietnam.
FedEx owns the No. 3 and No. 4 picks and may well use these in drafting big players in the absence of Jerry Codiñera, who underwent an emergency surgery while on a business trip in Europe.
Meanwhile, the PBA may finally close its deal with ABC-5 with regards to the PBA games broadcast rights as the league board of governors meets this afternoon.
The STAR source said the deal is actually over except for the formal handshake between PBA officials and their ABC-5 counterparts headed by former league franchise (Mobiline) owner Tonyboy Cojuangco.
The first events to be covered by ABC-5 are the rookie pre-draft camp on Jan. 12 and the Draft Day on Jan. 16.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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