Santi Santillan foregoes draft plans to focus on 3x3 career

Santi Santillan, after meeting with Chooks-To-Go Pilipinas 3x3 owner Ronald MascariƱas, announced that he will not join the PBA Draft. Chooks-To-Go
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Another high-profile PBA Draft prospect pulled the plug on his plans to play in the top-tier league.

Santi Santillan announced that he is opting out of the draft on Tuesday night and instead will continue his campaign with Wilkin's Balanga in the 3x3 circuit.

Prior to his decision to back out of the draft, Santillan was projected as a first round pick.

The six-foot-five forward admitted that he still wants to join fellow Balanga player Alvin Pasaol, who earlier pulled out of the draft, in 3x3 play as the Philippines vies for a spot in the OQT next year.

"Si Alvin lagi ko rin kasama, tapos lagi niya ko sinasabihan na para sa bayan naman ito e," said Santillan, who is also a teammate of Pasaol with Zamboanga in the MPBL. "Gusto ko pa makasama si Pasaol."

The Philippines is currently 22nd in the FIBA 3x3 men's rankings, inside the Top 24 cutoff for the OQT.

The Philippines can still rack up points as Balanga will play in the FIBA 3x3 Jeju Challenger and World Tour Jeddah Masters this month.

Also, a special 3x3 tournament that will serve as a tuneup for the national team to the SEA Games 3x3 event will take place.

Santillan then said that he already told his parents about his decision to postpone his draft plans.

"Yung mga taong nasa paligid ko, yung family ko sinabihan ko na may offer galing sa Chooks. Pumayag naman sila pati mama ko na hindi muna ko magpra-draft," he shared.

Santillan added that playing in the 3x3 game helped him develop further his game.

"Kapag naglalaro ka sa 3x3, may chance ka na makalaban yung best of the best sa ibang bansa kaya grabe yung commitment ko dito," he further said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno