Two students athletes who completed their collegiate playing years in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines – in National University star Dindin Santiago and De La Salle University team captain Abbie Marano – emerged top picks in the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) rookie draft at the NBA Café in SM Aura.
The 6-foot-2 Santiago was made top overall draft pick by Petron, further solidifying the Blaze Spikers’ net defense.
Expansion team Air Asia picked La Salle ace Marano to re-unite her with coach Ramil de Jesus and the Lady Spikers, who had a runner-up finish in the previous University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament.
RC Cola tabbed Iari Yongco of La Salle-Dasmarinas; Cagayan picked Janine Marciano of San Beda; PLDT selected Jem Ferrer of Ateneo de Manila and Cignal went for Norie Diaz of Perpetual Help University of Rizal.
Back-to-back champion Philippine Army — which will be playing under the banner of Generika Drugs — rounded up the first round with its selection of Christine Agno of Far Eastern University.
“This is a big break for me,” said Santiago, who led the Lady Bulldogs to back-to-back Final Four appearances in the UAAP.
“I hope I can sustain the momentum I had in the UAAP and convert it to a good performance here in the Super Liga. I will work hard to somehow repay the trust given to me by Petron,” said Santiago.
Another player from National University, Carmina Aganon, will join Santiago after she was selected by the Blaze Boosters in the second round while Mayette Zapanta of Adamson was picked in the third round.
Air Asia went for another La Salle spiker in the second round as it picked Wensh Tiu before netting May Macatuno of Adamson in the third and Arianna Angustia of Emilio Aguinaldo College in the fourth round.
RC Cola went for Jill Gustilo of Adamson in the third round as well as UP stalwarts Toni Faye Tan in the third and Southlyn Ramos in the fourth rounds.
Cagayan picked Charlene Gillego of FEU, PLDT went for Rysabelle Devanadera of San Sebastian, Cignal tabbed Michiko Castaneda of UP and Generika-Army selected Joyce Palad also of UP in the second round before passing up in the succeeding rounds.
Teams have until next week to sign up their draftees.
“Teams have three days to tender an offer,” said PSL president and chief organizer Ramon ‘Tats’ Suzara.
“Draftees who fail to sign after seven days will automatically become free agents and they are free to negotiate with other teams,” Suzara added.
The PSL is backed by Misaka, Asics, Jinling Sports and Healthway Medical Services. It unfurls on May 10 with the All-Filipino Conference at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.