BLACKWATER Sports made two-time MVP the top pick overall of the PBA dispersal draft held behind closed doors on Friday at Microtel in Acropolis, Libis, Quezon City.
Left unprotected by Meralco, Ildefonso was the first name to be grabbed by Blackwater after winning the right to pick first from a pool of unprotected players and free agents coveted by the two expansion teams.
The second expansion team, Kia Motors, made Reil Cervantes the second pick overall. Ironically, Cervantes is a mainstay of Blackwater's team in the D-League prior to joining the dispersal pool.
"Syempre, experience at pangalan mayroon na siya. He's still good for two years. He is a good choice to lay down the foundation of this team," said Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy of the 37-year-old Ildefonso.
Prior to the drafting, the PBA asked the two teams to come up with 12-man wish lists. Players who appeared on both lists headed back to the draft pool.
Blackwater Sports believes that a two-time champion in Danny Ildefonso is still the best talent out there in the dispersal pool.
Sy told Spin.ph that he believes Ildefonso still has the skills and motivation that helped him win eight championships in 15 seasons with San Miguel Beer.
"Danny I is a good piece to build a new team like ours. He is a known winner, a veteran plus he can be a good guide to our pool of young players, " said Sy during the draft.
Aside from Ildefonso, Blackwater Sports also tabbed Alex Nuyles, Jr Cawaling, Eddie Laure, Bryan Faundo, JP Erram, Paul Artadi, Gilbert Bulawan, Bambam Gamalinda, Chris Timberlake, Norman Gonzales and Rob Celiz.
Surprisingly, the two expansion teams left out Rain or Shine big man Larry Rodriguez and San Mig's Ronnie Matias. It was later explained that the two have high salaries and longterm contracts which Kia or Blackwater would have assumed had they picked them.
Kia assistant coach Glen Capacio bared that picking Cervantes at No. 2 is a wise move as they know Blackwater Sports will snare him with the third pick.
"I think it wad wise move on our part, we know kukunin nila eh. Inunanahan na namin," said Capacio.
Kia also picked Mike Burtscher, Hans Thiele, Alvin Padilla, Jai Reyes, Paul Sanga, Angie Raymundo, Eder Saldua, Nic Belasco, LA Revilla, Joshua Webb and Chad Alonzo.
The drafting was moved to the Microtel due to the rotational brownouts that left the PBA office without power prior to the proceedings.