The best and worst draft classes in PBA history
MANILA, Philippines - It's the time of the year again when PBA teams are given the chance to select new players, giving the young and promising a chance at a spot in their rosters.
This is where franchise players are born. It's also where saviors turn into lemons, as not all players live up to their billing and become busts.
With the 2013 PBA draft kicking off Sunday, Nov 3, 2013 at Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila, let's take a trip down memory lane and list down the best and worst draft classes in the 27-year history of the PBA draft since it was institutionalized in 1985. What sort of impact did these players have on their teams?
Class of 1989
It was the year when the Formula Shell Zoom Masters picked former UP Fighting Maroon Benjie Paras as the number one overall selection and as we all know, he capped the year by winning the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Rookie of the Year (ROY) awards – the only player to achieve the feat in Asia’s first play-for-pay league.
Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc went on to win Shell's only PBA championship the following year just as they, along with Eric Altamirano, won the UAAP title for UP.
Other notable players in this draft class were Nelson Asaytono, Paul Alvarez, Ric-Ric Marata and current Barangay Ginebra head coach Ato Agustin (tabbed in the 2nd round), who would eventually win an MVP award in 1992.
Class of 2003
The Alaska Aces made Mike Cortez the number one overall pick in 2003, when the team was reeling from the departure of Johnny Abarrientos. But it was Gilas Pilipinas skipper Jimmy Alapag who won the ROY honors. Ironically, the Aces had the 10th pick in the first round but traded it to Talk ‘N Text and the Texters pick was…
The player Alaska got from TNT? Don Camaso.
Rommel Adducul, Harvey Carey, Enrico Villanueva, Reynel Hugnatan, Brandon Cablay, Cyrus Baguio and Ronald Tubid are part of this draft class.
Class of 1995
Former UST standout Dennis Espino was selected by Sta. Lucia as the number one overall pick in this draft class. Among Espino’s batchmates were EJ Feihl, Kenneth Duremdes, Chris Jackson, Bal David and Jeffrey Cariaso.
Class of 1990
Peter Jao (I don’t know if he’s related with Dr. J) was the first overall pick of the 1990 PBA draft. He would not have an established PBA career.
There's still a sliver of silver lining in this class – Gilbert Reyes, (brother of Gilas head coach Chot Reyes and Johnny Abarrientos’ chief back-up at the point for Alaska during its title runs in the 90s) and Gerry Esplana, one of the PBA’s best low-posting small men, who were also part of the class.
Class of 1991
In all his 6’7” glory, Alex Araneta was all promise when he entered the 1991 PBA draft, and Alaska took him as the first pick of the draft.
Turns out, Araneta stayed, well, a promise.
Bong Hawkins, Eugene Quilban and Arthur Dela Cruz and Roel Gomez are members of this draft class.
Class of 2010
There was a lot of excitement in the air when the Air21 Express selected the Ateneo frontcourt duo of Noy Baclao and Rabeh Al-Hussaini as the first two picks of the 2010 PBA draft but so far, the two can’t seem to find their home in the PBA.
Rey Guevarra, Elmer Espiritu, John Wilson, Jimbo Aquino and Pari Llagas were all first rounders in this draft class but like Baclao and Al-Hussaini, they have had their moments but none have made much impact for their respective teams.
Class of 2011
It’s a no-brainer that this draft class is one of the deepest in years.
Majority of the original Gilas 1.0 team members applied and were taken in the first round of the 2011 PBA draft.
Deadeye shooter and crack point guard Jvee Casio was selected by the defunct Powerade franchise as that year’s first overall pick while other players drafted were Paul Lee, Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter, Mark Barroca, Mac Baracael, Allein Maliksi and Dylan Ababou.
Casio has already won a championship ring and so have Lee, Barroca and Maliksi (although he’s in the injured list). Lutz and Lassiter came tantalizingly close to their own rings. (READ: SanMig Coffee survives Petron to bag PBA crown)
Need I say more?
Class of 2006
This draft class had so much talent that it has already produced two MVPs — Kelly Williams, and just recently, Arwind Santos. (READ: Santos shows MVP Grace under pressure)
Class of 2004
The Shell Turbo Chargers picked Rich Alvarez as the top pick overall in this draft class. The former two-time UAAP MVP and Ateneo star went on to win top rookie honors but a year later, James Yap, selected number two by the then Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdogs, bagged the MVP award. Of course, Yap became the face of the PBA and added another MVP crown in 2010.
All 4 have suited up for the National team, while Pingris, De Ocampo, and David were all part of the Gilas team that made the historic run in this year’s FIBA Asia that ended the slump vs South Korea and secured a spot in the 2014 FIBA Asia World Cup. - Rappler.com