2023 PBA Draft: Cebuano cagers excited, nervous for Draft day
CEBU CITY, Philippines—(UPDATED, 8 p.m. Sept. 12) Cebuano applicants for the 2023 PBA Draft are excited yet nervous for Draft day this Sunday, September 17, 2023.
The cagers from Cebu were together at the PBA Draft Combine on Tuesday, September 12, just days before they try their luck at being picked by PBA teams.
The Cebuanos who will join the Draft are Fletcher Galvez, Jaybie Mantilla,JB Bahio, Shaq Imperial, Dyll Roncal, Clifford Jopia, Joshua Flores, Jimboy Pasturan, Shane Menina, and Reeve Ugsang.
READ MORE: More Cebuanos to join 2023 PBA Draft
‘Excited na mga gi pang kulbaan,” Imperial, the former Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. (Cesafi) MVP, said when asked how the Cebu players are feeling.
Imperial, who played for the 2019 Cesafi champion Southwestern University (SWU), also said they are not expecting too much come Draft Day. But even of things don’t go their way, the experience being part of the Draft is still a “once in a lifetime experience.”
Another former Cesafi MVP, Jaybie Mantilla, is also grateful for the experience of having to join the PBA Draft, saying this is something he won’t forget.
“Nindot ang experience kai naka suway sad jud mi’g ingon ani. At least sa among career sa basketball, ni abot nga magpa draft sa PBA. Dako na kaayug achievement sa among career,” Mantilla said.
(This is a good experience because we were able to try something like this. At least in our career in basketball, we reached a point that we applied for the PBA Draft. This is a huge achievement in our careers.)
Record number of Draft applicants
Mantilla, though, doesn’t want to be too expect much on Sunday, noting that there are a lot of applicants for this year’s Draft.
There are a record 128 applicants for this Draft, headed by noted young cagers such as Ricci Rivero, James Kwekuteye, Zav Lucero, Fran Yu, Henry Galinato, Dominick Fajardo, among others.
In an earlier interview, Menina also said he felt the same about the upcoming draft.
“Excited ug kulba,” said Shane on how he feels about the Draft. (Excited and nervous.)
“Excited because it will be a dream come true if I would be drafted and be able to sign for any PBA team. Nervous because I know there are a lot of good players in the Draft,” he explained.
The 25-year-old Menina said he will still continue with his basketball career even if he doesn’t get picked during the Draft.
“Ma draft or di ma draft, still pasalamat gihapon kay naka suway og draft sa PBA,” he said.
(Drafted or not, I will still be thankful that I tried for the PBA Draft.)
Cebu cagers support each other
Imperial’s teammate in the SWU championship team in 2019, Dyll Roncal, also said in a separate interview that this is one experience he will cherish.
The 6-foot-2 Roncal from Barangay Sambag 2 in Cebu City said it has been his childhood dream to join the PBA, the country’s top pro basketball league.
“Isa na sa akong childhood dreams na maabot sa ingana na stage sa akong basketball career. I decided nga mo try na ko karon na year since daghan man pud mi mga Cebuano nga magpa Draft karon,” said the 25-year-old workhorse.
(It is one of my childhood dreams to reach that stage in my basketball career. I decided to try this year since there are a lot of Cebuanos joining the Draft.)
In a message to CDN Digital, he said he believes the Cebu cagers are ready for the Draft.
“Sa akuang nakita, puros mi prepared and ready kaayu sa karun na Combine. Amo lang pud gi enjoy ni nga once-in-a-lifetime na experience,” he said. (With what I see, we are all prepared and ready for this Combine. We just also want to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.)
“Then we support each other [here],” he added.
Roncal believes that whether he is picked or not, he will be grateful for the experience.
“At least we tried. If it doesn’t work, so we move on. Move on, then proceed to our next journey,” he said.
“For me, or sguro para sa amo na gyud tanan, kay whatever the result is, dapat happy ra gyud mi permi. Then isalig lang kay LORD and SENIOR SANTO NIÑO ang tanan,” Roncal said.
(For me, or maybe for all of us here, whatever the result will be, we should just be happy. Then we have to trust the Lord and Señor Santo Niño.)
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