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Fil-Aussie Mark Franco, in PH Basketball Rookie Draft

Mark Franco made history as the first Australian-Filipino basketball player to be selected in the inaugural Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Rookie Draft. The 23-year old 5’11” point guard from Bankstown was selected ninth pick in the fourth round by Jumbo Plastic Linoleum Giants. The PBA D-League Rookie Draft was held at the PBA Office in Libis, Quezon City.
Out of 111 registered aspirants, Franco was one of only fifty-eight players that got picked over a span of fifteen rounds.  Twenty-seven Fil-foreigners applied for the draft, with prized Filipino-Italian guard Chris Banchero chosen first overall by Boracay Rum Waves. The PBA D-League currently has fourteen teams.  Their new season starts on October 24 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
In an exclusive phone interview with Franco, he said, “It’s a dream come true. I am so excited! I can’t wait to go there and show them what I can do. This is the first step in my professional basketball career.”
He added, “I’m looking forward to meeting some of the PBA stars that I look up to, including Jimmy Alapag and LA Tenorio. I definitely want to play in the PBA.”
Franco played for representative team Bankstown Bruins last season in the Waratah League. He also suited up in the HOOPDREAMZ Allstar East vs. West pre-game with the Sydney Kings in February.  He is a member of the fledgling Filipino Australian Basketball (FAB) association.
He will now pack his bags for Manila next Tuesday to link up with his new ball club.  Fellow hoop player Gil De Mesa will accompany him.  De Mesa incidentally will be following Franco’s footsteps next season and try his luck in the 2014 draft.