Sep 15, 2023

1 of 29 Season 48 draft on Sunday: Rich harvest

Large in quantity and not lacking in quality.

To many, that's the description for the draft pool attending the PBA Season 48 Rookie Draft on Sunday at the Market! Market! in Taguig.

A record 128 hopefuls listed for this year's draft, with former Saint Mary's stalwart and NBA Summer League veteran Stephen Holt looming as the top prospect for top selection in the draft proceedings to be presided over by PBA commissioner Willie Marcial.

The concern was his absence during the PBA Draft Combine at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Is he fit to play? Is he in shape for the PBA competition?

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That's the intriguing question and that should be in mind of the coaches and the management of the Terrafirma Dyip team which owns the rights for the top pick overall.

In his guesting with the Sports Desk on CNN Philippines, Holt said he's ready for the jump.

"I've had a long, long career, nine years in Europe and Australia. It's been a blessing for me to get to travel the world and play in that type of environment. When I come in, for whoever drafts me, first pick, third pick, whatever, wherever I go, I'll definitely try to make an impact on and off the floor and affect the game in a positive way and showcase what I can do," he said.

"It doesn't matter where I get drafted. I'm just super excited to finally get this opportunity. It's been one of my goals throughout the entire journey to at least get one season in the PBA. I'll be grateful to whoever picks me on Sunday. It's another chapter in my basketball journey and I'm glad I'm going to write that chapter in the Philippines."

Zavier Lucero and Luis Villegas are still recovering from ACL surgery but won't be ignored. Then there are Christian David (Butler University) and Deschon Winston (Central Michigan University), Archie Concepcion, Ken Tuffin, Ricci Rivero, Sherwin Concepcion, Kemark Carino, Henry Galinato, John Lloyd Clemente, Brent Paraiso, Keith Datu, Brandon Bates, Shean Jackson, Zach Huang, BJ Andrade, James Kwekuteye and PBA OnTour players Cliff Jopia, Tommy Olivario, King Caralipio, Fran Yu, Jolo Mendoza, Ralph Cu, Kim Aurin, Dominick Fajardo, Francis Giussani, Damie Cuntapay, John Bauzon, Jan Sobrevega and Daniel Atienza.

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Terrafirma (Nos. 1, 12), Rain or Shine (Nos. 3, 4), Converge (Nos. 9, 10) and NorthPort (Nos. 5, 11) will pick twice on the first round. San Miguel Beer, Ginebra, Magnolia and TNT have traded their first-round draft rights in previous deals. Blackwater (No. 2), Phoenix (No. 6), NLEX (No. 7), Meralco and (No. 8) are the other teams in the draft order in the first round.

Coaches say it will be a quality draft all the way to the third round. (SB)