Late draftees? More like PBA steals
MANILA, Philippines – The PBA Draft has seen teams hit and miss.
A number of players picked in the first round have failed to live up to expectations, while some late draftees have found ways to remain valuable and even achieve stardom.
These are the players drafted outside the first round or went undrafted since 2000 who carved out successful PBA careers:
1. Cyrus Baguio (14th overall, 2003)
Baguio found himself slipping to the second round after the likes of Jimmy Alapag, Mike Cortez, Rommel Adducul, Harvey Carey, Enrico Villanueva, and Reynel Hugnatan got drafted in the first round.
That, though, proved to be a blessing in disguise as Baguio landed with Red Bull, which he helped lead to a PBA title in 2006 under Yeng Guiao.
"Skyrus" established himself as an able scorer during his time with Red Bull and he went on to win two more championships with Alaska in 2010 and 2013.
His impressive resumé includes two Second Mythical Team selections, 11 All-Star inclusions, and a Slam Dunk Contest crown.
After 17 years in the PBA, Baguio is set to play for one last conference hoping to wrap up his career with a championship with NLEX.
2. Jeff Chan (17th overall, 2008)
Chan more than exceeded expectations as a second-rounder as proven by the multiple awards he won during his PBA career.
Drafted by Red Bull, Chan flourished under Guiao when he was traded to Rain or Shine and played a key role in their championship runs in 2012 and 2016.
The sharpshooting guard won a Finals MVP and two All-Star Game MVP plums, landed a spot in the Second Mythical Team, and played for Gilas Pilipinas in the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Chan was shipped to Barangay Ginebra and bagged two more PBA titles as a role player for Tim Cone.
3. Ronald Tubid (16th overall, 2003)
A ton of PBA players ended their careers without a single title but Tubid has 9 of them.
Tubid was drafted by Shell and spent some time with Air21 before he carved out his niche with Barangay Ginebra, which he helped win crowns in 2007 and 2008 as he averaged double digits in scoring.
The All-Defensive Team member went on to win 7 more championships with San Miguel.
4. Peter June Simon (43rd overall, 2001)
Simon is the epitome that hope is not lost for late draftees. (READ: PJ Simon to retire as inspiration to unheralded players)
Drafted in the fifth round by Sta Lucia, Simon chose to stay in the Metropolitan Basketball Association and Philippine Basketball League for a couple of years before signing with Purefoods in 2004.
He gradually earned his playing time, and during the peak of his powers, he formed a formidable trio with James Yap and Marc Pingris as they led San Mig Coffee to a rare Grand Slam in 2014.
Simon bagged a total of 8 PBA titles on top of a Second Mythical Team selection, an All-Star MVP award, and a Three-Point Shootout crown.
What is more impressive is that Simon will end his career with one franchise as he is set to see action for one final conference before hanging up his jersey.
5. Poy Erram (15th overall, 2013)
Erram fell to the second round after seeing fellow big men Greg Slaughter, Ian Sangalang, and Raymond Almazan go 1-2-3 in the first round.
He was seldom used by TNT during his rookie year but found a new lease on life when he was acquired by Blackwater.
Erram won the Defensive Player of the Year plum and earned a Second Mythical Team selection in 2018 with Blackwater before he was shipped to NLEX.
Proving he has come a long way, the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart was recently at the center of a three-team trade that sent him back to TNT.
6. Larry Fonacier (14th overall, 2005)
Fonacier was a bona fide steal of his draft class as he won Rookie of the Year despite being a second-round pick by Red Bull.
"The Baby Faced Assassin" won a title with Red Bull during his rookie year and captured 6 more crowns as a pivotal player for TNT from 2010 to 2015, highlighted by one where he was named Finals MVP.
Known for his deadly outside sniping, Fonacier was a part of the Gilas Pilipinas team that qualified for the 2014 FIBA World Cup with a silver-medal finish in the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship.
Fonacier currently plays for NLEX.
7. Chico Lanete (undrafted, 2006)
Lanete did not hear his name called in the 2006 draft but he went on to enjoy a PBA career spanning more than a decade.
He spent his first two years in the league with Purefoods and had stops with Barangay Ginebra, Burger King, Powerade, and Meralco before helping San Miguel win 3 PBA championships.
Although seldom used by Leo Austria as he played backup to Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, and Alex Cabagnot, there were times when Lanete shone and contributed as an off-the-bench scorer.
8. Jireh Ibañes (11th overall, 2006)
They say defense wins championships and that is exactly what Ibañes did during his stint with Rain or Shine.
Ibañes, drafted by Welcoat to start the second round, keyed Rain or Shine to two titles behind his defensive tenacity. He was included in the All-Defensive Team twice and was named Defensive Player of the Year.
Now retired, Ibañes currently serves as an assistant coach for Rain or Shine. – Rappler.com