Two Ilonggos hope to enter PBA after declaring for the 2023 Rookie Draft

Pido (L) and Larupay are hoping to get drafted in the PBA (MPBL photo/JJ Pido Facebook)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Two promising Ilonggo basketball players will be testing the waters of the 2023 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Rookie Draft on September 17, 2023, to be held at the Market! Market Place in Taguig.

Omar Larupay and Jeric James Pido, two of the most familiar faces in Iloilo City in the sport of basketball, are hoping to get their names called once the Rookie Draft ceremony begins this Sunday.

Larupay is fresh off a championship title with the DPWH squad during the recently concluded Iloilo Charter Day basketball tournament.

A product of the CenterPhil Montessori SilverKnights team located in Janiuay, Iloilo, Larupay quickly elevated his game and became a solid frontcourt asset when he made his jump to Manila.

Larupay had his first stint with the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors in the UAAP then transferred to the NCAA when he was tapped by the Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates.

The hardworking power forward also rendered his services to the Iloilo United Royals in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL) and became a reliable anchor in the shaded lane for head coach MC Abolucion, another Ilonggo.

Meanwhile, Pido, a former floor general of the Saint Roberts International College in Iloilo, also threw his name in the list together with some of the current young superstars of the generation.

A Savvy ball handler who can score the leather in crafty ways, Pido donned the red and gold jersey of the Mapua University Cardinals in the NCAA.

His consistent growth and court maturity then helped him earn a contract in the MPBL and play for the Rizal XentroMall.

Aside from the Ilonggo duo, Jhan Nermal, the Most Valuable Player of the 2023 Dinagyang Cup hoops league, will also enter the PBA Draft.

Nermal gave the Ilonggos a treat way back on January 22, 2023 when the Royal Star Trading squad outdueled team Uniwheels during the championship match of the prestigious league.

The MPBL mainstay hails from Hinigaran, Negros Occidental and delivered several championships to the West Negros University during his NOPSSCEA days.