PLAYERS who failed to hear their names called out in Sunday’s PBA Rookie Draft need not fret.
Left undrafted doesn’t mean the end of the road for players wishin to suit up in Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league; nor does being drafted guarantee earning an outright roster spot in a team.
One just have to look at the likes of Jonathan Uyloan of Rain or Shine or Barangay Ginebra’s Josh Urbiztondo as living proofs of players who were not drafted and yet went on to prove that 'they belong.’
“There’s a lot of guys in the league that didn’t get drafted. It’s always tough to sit there the whole time and not get your names called,” stressed Barangay Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
“But the dream does not end there.”
The words coming from the most accomplished coach in PBA history should come as a form encouragement for the nine hopefuls who were left out of the original 63-man pool that comprised this year’s rookie class.
The nine includes Eric Acuna, Alex Almario, Junar Arce, Carlo Gatmaitan, Dale Hodges, Jul-shri Ignacio, Eric Miraflores, Mark Montuano, and Adi Santos.
A total of 54 players were drafted during the proceedings that extended up to eight rounds – a new league high, according to PBA chief statistician and Spin.ph columnist Fidel Mangonon III – surpassing the previous record of 48 players in seven rounds during the 2001 draft.
Of the total hopefuls that turned out for the draft in 2001, lefty Paeng Santos and Allan Yu went on to latch with different teams in the pro league, according to Mangonon.
“There are plenty of undrafted players who turned themselves into effective pros – Persistence & determination. Continue after your dreams..” Talk ‘N Text veteran Danny Seigle tweeted on his account@dannyseigle42 shortly after the draft.
Other notable undrafted players cited by Mangonon in recent years who eventually found their way to the big league include Rudy Lingganay of NLEX, Mahindra’s Hyram Bagatsing, Mark Yee, and Hans Thiele, Blackwater’s Brian Faundo, Jerwin Gaco of Star, and Barako Bull’s Chico Lanete.
Former University of Santo Tomas point guard Siot Tanquingcen was also undrafted in 1996, but was able to play for four seasons with Sunkist and San Miguel Beer before becoming the champion coach that he is.
“A lot of teams are looking for free agents, there’s tryouts going all over the place, so guys keep it going and keep moving forward,” Cone concluded.