The Very First PBA Draft Diary
September 24, 2006 by Benjie Cruz
I accidentally caught the second round of the PBA draft earlier tonight. Watched it, read the news and now I give you a short (not that sweet though) PBA Draft Diary. A la Bill Simmons.
Sta Lucia broke its longtime self-imposed ‘No-Fil-Am’ policy by drafting Kelly Williams. But this doesn’t come as a surprise. Days earlier it was widely believed that Sta. Lucia already made up their mind. Said to be capable of playing the 2, 3, 4, 5 positions, he just made any of the Sta. Lucia’s pillars (Duremdes, Espino, Aquino) very much dispensable.
Williams mother is a native of Cebu and he honed his skills at Oakland University in Michigan Detroit. “I’m excited. Just to be a part of this draft makes me proud. I’m so thankful that this nation has embraced me.” said Williams. Wait ’til he plays the Ginebra San Miguel, let’s see the embracing part he’s talking about. He will be joined by Mark Isip at Sta. Lucia, a former PBL-Magnolia player too. Mark Isip was selected 6th.
“Now I have a team!” proclaimed by long time Sta. Lucia team manager and board representative Buddy Encarnado. What? All along, during the times I was watching Sta Lucia these past years, I am not watching a team? I didn’t know, all these years, I was watching a bunch of pogo sticks and not a team.
Another “No-Filam” team, the Air21 was dead-on set to pick 2-time UAAP MVP Arwind Santos, and they got what they wished for. Succeeding picks are: (3) Coca-Cola Tigers – Joseph Yeo, San Miguel Beer (4 and 5) – LA Tenorio and forward Gabby Espinas.
Purefoods knowingly that they lack depth at PG position, picked up Boyet Bautista (9th) in the first round and Ollan Omiping (20th) in the second round. Bad omen for the offensively ineffective Paul Artadi.
How excruciating for these PBA applicants to be there in the room, with bright lights, cameras on them, knowing that the draft is only 2 round deep. With 40 or so applicants, half of them will go home un-drafted.
If not for the Coca Cola rookie shopping binge, there would have been more broken hearted basketball players. Coke’s Binky Favis drafted 7 applicants. You know not everyone will be signed. Teams have five days to tender their offer to their respective draftees.
With Commissioner Eala during a great impersonation of David Stern, PBA is starting to do this more like what it should be. A little flair in the proceedings. Alex Compton, taking a break from his staple, a Coffee Mate video shoot, did the announcing and analysis.
How difficult it is for Alex Compton to be still not eligible to play in the PBA. He himself could have been drafted in the PBA so many years ago. Consolation is, he’s a passable TV commentator. Pretty good. In fact a little overly good, because during the course of the coverage, he did not say any negative comment about a player or a draft.
He went the whole night like thisâ€¦ â€œhe is intelligentâ€, â€œthis guy is a stealâ€, â€œhe can shootâ€, â€œthis player can defendâ€, â€œhe can do anythingâ€, â€œthis is great pickâ€, etc. Basically, all was good. Ahhhhh, isn’t he nice.