The 1987 PBA Draft produced Hall of Famer Allan Caidic and potential Hall of Famer Al Solis. But with just five drafted players and a record-low eight applicants, the prestige of the draft was somewhat tarnished.
The 1985 PBA Draft on the other hand failed to give the spectacle its inaugural oomph. Shell had the first overall pick in Sonny Cabatu, but it was their fourth round pick, Leo Austria, who claimed Top Rookie status.
So which draft ranks above these drafts in terms of mediocrity?
2005 PBA Draft
The 2005 PBA Draft is not a bad draft class. Sure there are no MVPs in this batch but three of them are Mythical First Teamers. Jay Washington ended up as the top pick by the Air21 Express with Alex Cabagnot, Denok Miranda, Jondan Salvador, Macmac Cardona, and Nino Canaleta rounding out the Top 6. Washington and Cardona would eventually win a ton of individual and team accolades which is amazing… considering that Air21 would eventually trade these stars to Talk N Text for Yancy de Ocampo and Patrick Fran.
Thus Air21’s Hari ng Padala (King of Delivery) tagline.
Ateneo’s Larry Fonacier – whose draft stock plummeted after missing his final year to recuperate from an ACL injury – became the first non-first round pick since Leo Austria to win the Rookie of the Year award.
The 2005 Draft made the list though because for the first time, the draft was reduced to two rounds. The objective behind the draft is to claim as many talents a team would need until they have had enough. This may sound harsh, but draft followers find enjoyment in seeing the draft room population dwindle as the picks (and passes) are announced. Finding a first round talent flounder in the later rounds and hell, even in the undrafted territory is also an awesome debate starter.
Sure, the NBA also have two rounds but they have a lot of avenues to acquire talent. There are also a lot of destinations for a talent to develop his game and evolve. They also limit their picks due to television time.
This is also the first PBA Draft that didn’t involve the Shell Turbo Chargers. Due to Shell’s sudden disbandment, the league didn’t have enough time to look for a tenth team and for the first time since 1999 was reduced to nine franchises. So when you combine the draft picks, the free agents, and the players dispersed by Shell, it’s just a big clusterfuck of talents.
During the 2005 PBA Draft, nine teams tried their best to claim the best talent available. Air21, Coca-Cola, and Sta. Lucia had three picks while Ginebra, San Miguel, and Talk N Text only had one.
At least what the Kings and the Beermen had were first round picks. The Phone Pals had the last pick of the draft (number 18). The irony between these two teams is that Ginebra pick Mike Holper had a relatively shorter career compared to Paolo Hubalde (SMB’s pick) and Mark Macapagal (TNT’s pick).
While the two-round system ensured quality over quantity… on paper, it didn’t help that some undrafted players had better careers than those that were selected.
Amongst the 49 hopefuls, 18 players were taken. Missing out are Jerwin Gaco, Froi Baguion, Emer Oreta, Al Vergara, Christian Coronel, and Ronald Capati – all of whom had PBA careers unlike the likes of BJ Manalo, Al Magpayo, and Rey Mendoza. Moreover, there are a lot of notable snubs who deserve at least a third or fourth round selection. FEU’s Gerald Jones is a notable snub. Ditto for former UST Growling Tigers Alwyn Espiritu, Melchor Latereno, and Don Villamin. And then there’s Adamson’s Mark Abadia, San Beda’s Arjun Cordero, and UP’s Toti Almeda.
Thank goodness the league returned to unlimited rounds in 2010.
Are you going bonkers for more?
Check out number seven.