JAMES Yap will always be regarded as one of the bests to ever lace their sneakers in the PBA.
Look far from his greatness and you'll see that the class he came in was also one of the most loaded.
From Ranidel de Ocampo and Marc Pingris to Sonny Thoss and Gary David, the 2004 PBA rookie class certainly ranks on top of them. Just look at where they are among the best drafts in league history.
With that, Spin.ph decided to turn back the clock and do a redraft, factoring in everything these players have accomplished in their careers and looking how these differences would have made in their careers.
Take a look on how the first round would have played out.
1. James Yap (Shell)
Where was he selected? 2nd overall, Purefoods
Who was picked on this spot? Rich Alvarez
This one's a no brainer.
The two-time PBA MVP deserves to be at the pole position in our redraft, especially given the career he's had.
Everybody knew how good Yap was back in his days in University of the East, and he'll certainly take the league by storm by the time he gets to Shell. After all, he led all rookies in scoring that season with 12.5 points despite a slow start.
It wouldn't take long for him to seize the main man role for the Turbo Chargers as he shares time with the likes of Chris Calaguio, Mark Hrabak, and Tony dela Cruz.
And here's a surefire bet on our part: Shell coach John Moran could not afford to bench a guy the caliber of Yap in his first PBA game or any other game for that matter.
Coach Leo Austria, who replaced Moran in March 2004, certainly wouldn't.
How franchise-altering is a talent like Yap? Well, this was also the Shell franchise's final PBA season and it's interesting to see how Yap's prowess would have changed the team's decision to disband.
2. Ranidel de Ocampo (Purefoods)
Where was he selected? 4th overall, FedEx
Who was picked on this spot? James Yap
Remember, this was the year where the Purefoods franchise was bracing for the imminent retirement of legend Alvin Patrimonio.
And what better way for the TJ Hotdogs than bringing in a forward built for the future in de Ocampo.
Yes, Ranidel wouldn't have had the chance to team up with his brother Yancy like he did in FedEx, but swap that to being the understudy to Kerby Raymundo in Purefoods and we see that as a more than fair deal.
With the TJ Hotdogs, RDO would be a superstar-in-waiting while also giving his team a lethal inside-outside attack together with Raymundo.
One more thing: Kerby might also have won an MVP award, if you ask us.
3. Marc Pingris (FedEx)
Where was he selected? 3rd overall, FedEx
Who was picked on this spot? Marc Pingris
This one's a first for this redraft.
FedEx certainly nailed this selection with Pingris and looking back at how his career panned out, it truly was a strike.
Pingris' grit is a perfect fit for the Express, then under coach Bonnie Garcia, as he'll enjoy being guided by "The Defense Minister" Jerry Codinera, who was already at the twilight of his career. Talk about transfer of knowledge.
The mystery, however, is if Pingris will still be traded to Purefoods if Ranidel de Ocampo is already there. I guess we'll never know.
4. Sonny Thoss (FedEx)
Where was he selected? 5th overall, Alaska
Who was picked on this spot? Ranidel de Ocampo
Like all rookies, Thoss would have been a backup center for FedEx in his rookie year.
Yancy de Ocampo was still at the peak of his powers and, like Pingris who was picked before him, the Papua New Guinea-born banger would enjoy learning the ropes from Codinera in the Express.
Just imagine the frontline FedEx has had in this timeline, with YDO and John Ferriols leading the charge and Pingris and Thoss waiting in the wings. That's certainly as formidable as any frontline could come.
5. Willy Wilson (Alaska)
Where was he selected? 15th (2nd round), Alaska
Who was picked on this spot? Sonny Thoss
Well, what do you know? Wilson will still end up in Alaska in our redraft.
But rather than wait until the second round, he'll be taken at fifth overall.
Despite standing at just 6-foot-3, Wilson is as feisty as they come -- a fact everyone who watched him from his time in La Salle would know.
Although chances will be limited, Wilson will still enjoy learning the ropes from veterans like Ali Peek and EJ Feihl as he continuously try to earn his minutes from coach Tim Cone.
6. Gary David (Red Bull)
Where was he selected? 10th overall, Coca Cola
Who was picked on this spot? Denver Lopez
Enjoying the NLEX of today? What more if this dream scenario happened in 2004.
David, already a lethal bucket-getter in his time in the amateurs, would have made an already potent Red Bull side deadlier as he comes in the place of the suspended Jimwell Torion and partners with the likes of Cyrus Baguio and Junthy Valenzuela for the hard-knocks Barako side of coach Yeng Guiao.
Pair them with the frontline featuring Mick Pennisi, Enrico Villanueva, and Lordy Tugade, and Red Bull may just squeak in a championship or two in David's first season in the pros.
Had that happened, David wouldn't have ended his PBA career without a title.
7. Bitoy Omolon (Purefoods)
Where was he selected? 8th overall, Sta. Lucia
Who was picked on this spot? Ervin Sotto
Flash over substance was Omolon's adage in his 12-year PBA career, and it's certainly what he'll bring had Purefoods took him at seventh.
A glue guy in every sense of the word, the PCU standout is expected to be a dependable winger off the bench for the TJ Hotdogs, playing behind guys like Rey Evangelista and Noy Castillo.
Though he may not be as explosive as his peers, Omolon's versatility will help him earn time with Purefoods under coach Ryan Gregorio.
8. Wesley Gonzales (Sta. Lucia)
Where was he selected? 9th overall, FedEx
Who was picked on this spot? Bitoy Omolon
Talk about adding firepower to Sta. Lucia.
Coming from his time in Ateneo, Gonzales will definitely give that to the Kenneth Duremdes-led Realtors of coach Alfrancis Chua.
Playing time, however, will be tough especially with Sta. Lucia's loaded guard rotation which still featured Paolo Mendoza and veterans Boyet Fernandez and Chito Victolero.
But count on Gonzales to hit those buckets in his limited time on the floor.
9. Paul Artadi (FedEx)
Where was he selected? 11th (2nd round), Purefoods
Who was picked on this spot? Wesley Gonzales
After going with Pingris and Thoss in its first two picks, FedEx must take in a guard at nine.
And the Express certainly have their guy in Artadi, one of the fiercest on-ball defenders in college.
"Kid Lightning" will be part of a hard-nosed guard rotation in FedEx which already has Wynne Arboleda and Egay Billones to complement the sweet shooting of Renren Ritualo.
Artadi will still have the chance to team up with Pingris here in the Express, just like they did in Purefoods, but not so much with Yap, his former running partner in UE.
10. Rich Alvarez (Coca Cola)
Where was he selected? 1st overall, Shell
Who was picked on this spot? Gary David
Expectations were high for Alvarez when he was shockingly taken first overall by Shell.
But in our redraft, Coca Cola taking him last in the first round feels just right.
Yes, we know Alvarez did win the Rookie of the Year honors, but imagine how much the Ateneo big man would have fared in his career had he gotten a chance to play behind Rudy Hatfield, Poch Juinio, Rafi Reavis, and Gilbert Lao without that much pressure.
Add to that having Johnny Abarrientos playing at the point in his first year with the Tigers and we're sure that Alvarez would have wanted this timeline better.