ELLIOT Tan didn’t mind being the last player to go up the stage on Sunday -- being drafted alone in Asia’s first play-for-pay league was already a dream come true for the player.
“I’m very thankful. I’ ve been waiting for this moment,” said the Fil-Am guard, a part-time starter for Big Chill in the PBA D-League who now hopes to follow in the footsteps of his father, former PBA player Alex Tan.
Tan, 23, was the 39th and last player to be selected from 57 aspirants in a draft that got as far as the sixth round -- the deepest a draft has gone since the 2003 edition when 40 rookies were selected for six rounds.
He was selected by Ginebra San Miguel with the seventh pick of the sixth round.
Born in San Diego to an American mother, Tan admitted almost losing hope when some teams started passing on their picks beginning in the fourth round.
“My heart dropped a little (in the fourth round),” said Tan, who before suiting up in the D-League usually comes home to the Philippines every other Christmas.
Then came relief when Commissioner Chito Salud called his name as the Kings’ selection in the sixth and final round.
“I was very nervous and kept thanking God for this opportunity,” said Tan, recalling the special moment when he went up the stage and was given the traditional cap and jacket by Ginebra players and executives.
Joining a team that is loaded in the backcourt, Tan said he’s not sure what fate awaits for him with the Kings. But he has vowed to do his best to impress the team’s coaching staff and hopefully land a contract.
“I don’t really know, man,” Tan said.