75 players declare for PBA Draft

Balti Baltazar and Kurt Lojera beat the deadline to enter the PBA Draft. UAAP Season 84 Media Team (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Seventy-five basketball players have thrown their hats into the PBA Draft, the league announced on Sunday.

La Salle's sweet-shooting forward Balti Baltazar and high-flying guard Kurt Lojera were among those who formally declared for the May 15 event right at the final day of application on Saturday.

The PBA initially set the draft deadline on May 2, but it was eventually moved to May 7, paving the way for the likes of Baltazar and Lojera to join even if their team is still playing in the college basketball playoffs.

Baltazar and Lojera, who according to Commissioner Willie Marcial beat the 5 p.m. cut-off, applied the day after the Green Archers were knocked out by the UP Fighting Maroons in their UAAP Final 4 tie.

Among those also taking advantage of the deadline extension are former Gilas cadet Jeo Ambohot and fellow Letran Knight Christian Fajarito, whose team will face Perpetual Help later Sunday in the NCAA Final 4.

Among high-profile collegiate stars also turning pro through the PBA Draft route are Arellano's Justin Arana, San Sebastian's JM Calma, St. Clare and UST's Joshua Fontanilla, NU's Shaun Ildefonso and Enzo Joson, Ateneo's Gian Mamuyac and Tyler Tio, and Adamson's Keith Zaldivar.

Meanwhile, some stars from the other existing pro leagues right now are also declaring for the PBA Draft like Jhonard Clarito, the hero of the 2019 MPBL Finals for the San Juan Knights.

On the other hand, two players from international leagues are making their way to the PBA Draft in former NBA G-League player Sedrick Barefield and B.League star Javi Gomez De Liano.

Some stars from the inaugural PBA 3x3 season have also joined the 5-on-5 draft in Brandon Rosser, Jeremiah Gray, and Jollo Go.

Alvin Baetiong, who saw action for Butuan Chooks in the recently held FIBA 3x3 Asia-Pacific Super Quest, has also applied for the PBA Draft.

The draft applicants have been advised to join the PBA Draft Combine during the midweek at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.

The final list of eligible draft applicants will be unveiled on Friday.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno