Drama and suspense will be the main flavors when the Philippine Superliga (PSL) holds its Annual Rookie Draft on May 27 at the Music Hall Oval Venue of the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
Reigning UAAP champion Ara Galang of La Salle and former NCAA Best Attacker CJ Rosario of Arellano will banner the 16 rookie aspirants in this prestigious event that will be aired live over TV5 starting 5 pm.
Galang, 21-year old former UAAP Most Valuable Player was the talk of the town after declaring that she will not throw her hat into the draft pool to focus on her academics while recuperating from a knee injury.
But in a stunning development, Galang showed up in the Rookie Camp at the FilOil Flying V Center last Tuesday, sparking speculations that she will be joining the selection process and might even land as the top overall pick.
She told league officials that she will be joining the draft, hoping to end up with the new-look F2 Logistics, which will be bannered by Mika Reyes, Cyd Demecillo, Kim Fajardo, Kim Dy and other former member of the Lady Spikers.
Prior to that the consensus top pick is Rosario, a 6-foot-1 middle blocker who already gained PSL experience after helping Petron reach the semifinals of a pre-season tournament last month.
RC Cola-Army, owner of top overall pick, admitted that picking between Galang and Rosario is a “very beautiful problem” since both spikers are capable of becoming a vital piece in their bid to win their fourth PSL crown.
“Both of them are very good. They are the rising stars in this league,” said RC Cola-Army coach Kungfu Reyes. “But we haven’t sat down to discuss our draft choice. This is a very crucial decision. We have to do a lot of research and studying before coming up with a choice.”
PSL president Ramon Suzara said this year’s draft will go down as the dramatic and unpredictable selection process due to the implementation of a three-day trading period that could change the complexion and order of the draft.
“We don’t know who will end up with whom,” said Suzara, an executive council member of the FIVB who also holds an important position with the AVC.
“For now, RC Cola-Army owns the top overall pick. But we may never know. Maybe they have already traded their pick to another team to acquire a veteran who can help them win another title. Let’s wait until the draft proper.”
Aside from Galang and Rosario, also expected to be tapped in the first round are former Arellano stalwarts Danna Henson, Shirley Salamagos and Angel Legacion as well as Asi Soliven of National University, Mary Grace Berte of Holy Cross of Davao, Marlyn Llagoso and Jerra Mae Pacino of Southwestern University in Cebu.
Also in the pool are Renelyn Raterta of University of Mindanao, Jonah Sabete of Bulacan State University, Gen Casugod of Far Eastern University, Sheryl Laborte of University of Negros Occidental, Lourdes Patilano of Adamson University, Sarina Bulan of University of the East and Christine Suyao of Emilio Aguinaldo College.
RC Cola-Army will be picking first in the original draft order followed by Generika, Perpetual, Standard Insurance-Navy, F2 Logistics, Cignal, Petron and Foton, which won the PSL Grand Prix crown last year.
Complete list of draftees
NAME AGE HEIGHT POSITION SCHOOL
1 GALANG, VICTONARA 21 5’7 OPEN DLSU
2 ROSARIO, CRISTINE JOY 23 5’11 MIDDLE ARELLANO
3 BERTE, MARY GRACE 21 5’10 MIDDLE / OUTSIDE HOLY CROSS OF DAVAO COLLEGE
4 LEGACION, ANGELICA 22 5’3 SETTER ARELLANO
5 RATERTA, RENELYN 21 5’3 SETTER UNIV OF MINDANAO
6 SALAMAGOS, SHIRLEY 21 5’11 MIDDLE ARELLANO
7 LLAGOSO, MARLYN 25 5’11 MIDDLE SOUTHWESTERN
8 PACINIO, JERRA MAE 21 5’3 LIBERO SOUTHWESTERN
9 SABETE, JONAH 22 5’6 OUTSIDE BULACAN STATE U
10 HENSON, DANA 21 5’5 OUTSIDE ARELLANO
11 CASUGOD, GEN 25 6’1 MIDDLE FEU
12 LABORTE, SHERYLL 33 5’4 LIBERO UNIV OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL
13 SOLIVEN, JOCELYN 24 5’4 SETTER NU
14 PATILANO, LOURDES 25 5’4 SETTER ADAMSON
15 BULAN, SARINA 24 5’5 OUTSIDE UE
16 SUYAO, CHRISTINE 25 5’4 OPPOSITE EAC