By ADRIAN STEWART CO
Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League squad, the Iloilo United Royals, will have four of its players trying their luck in the 2023 PBA Rookie Draft at the Market! Market! in Taguig City this Sunday, September 17.
Ilonggo Omar Larupay, Lorenzo Navarro, Joshua Flores, and Shaquille Imperial were among the United Royals players who beat the PBA deadline to submit their draft applications last week.
The 6-foot-2 Larupay was a former standout of the CenterPhil Montessori SilverKnights before being recruited to Manila to play for the University of the East Red Warriors in the UAAP and Lyceum of the Philippines Pirates in the NCAA.
The Iloilo province’s Lambunao-native forward averaged 5.9 points, six rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.5 blocks in almost 16 minutes of action in his 25-game appearance for the United Royals.
On the other hand, the 5-foot-8 Navarro previously played for the De La Salle University Green Archers in the UAAP before he transferred to the Pirates, where he teamed up with Larupay.
Manila’s Sta. Ana-native Navarro suited up for 22 games for the United Royals and normed 7.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 6.7 assists, and 1.5 steals while shooting 28 percent from the three-point line.
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-4 Flores was a former member of the National University Bulldogs in the UAAP before he suited up for the Pampanga Royce team in the Pilipinas Super League and with the United Royals.
The Leyte province’s Baybay City-native Flores shot 26.5 percent from the three-point line and averaged 12.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, two assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.1 blocks per game in 24 appearances.
Lastly, Imperial is a 5-foot-10 guard who became part of the University of Perpetual Help Altas in the NCAA before he moved back to his hometown in Cebu with the Southwestern University Cobras.
Imperial was one of the late additions to the United Royals team as he normed 7.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.7 blocks in almost 17.1 minutes of action in nine games./ASC, WDJ