Philippine Basketball Association draft

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The Philippine Basketball Association draft is an annual selection process during which Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) teams can acquire in an agreed-upon order new players from outside the league who are not free agents. The draft began in 1985. Prior to that, teams hired rookies directly.


All players have to be natural-born Filipinos. Persons who chose Filipino citizenship by the age of maturity are considered as natural-born citizens.

For local players the requirements are that they must:

  • Be 21 years old at the day of the draft (previously 23). If under 21, the player must have completed four years of college.
  • Be a college graduate or four years removed from his high school graduation, if older than 21
  • Play at least seven games of one conference in the PBA Developmental League.

Filipino-foreigners have the same requirements as locals except they must:

Anyone who played for the Philippines men's national basketball team is exempted from the D-League requirement and is automatically eligible for selection. The changes in eligibility rules are in effect starting in the 2015 draft.[1]

Imports – non-Filipino citizens, even those born in the Philippines – do not enter the league via the draft. They are directly signed by teams, and only play in some conferences. Naturalized citizens can only play in the league as imports.


The natural drafting order is determined by the teams' final rankings within each conference from the previous season, with rankings from the PBA Philippine Cup having heavier weight; the team with the worst record picks first, and the team with best winning percentage picking last in the first round. In the second round, the natural drafting order is still followed, however, the team with the second worst winning percentage will pick first then the worst will pick second. The worst and second worst team will change places in the following rounds.[2]

The drafting order is also subject to change if a team deals their draft picks in trades.

Draft lottery[edit]

Before 2015, a draft lottery determines which team gets the first overall draft pick, but in a much smaller scale; only the two worst-performing teams in the preceding season participate. The team with the worst record has a 67% chance of clinching the #1 seed while the second-worst only gets a 33% chance.[3] The draft lottery is usually held prior to the finals of the final conference of the season. The draft lottery was abandoned after the controversies that aroused during the lottery for the first pick of the 2014 draft.[4][5]

Number of rounds[edit]

From 1985 to 2004 and since 2011, the league has unlimited number of rounds until all the teams have passed, with all undrafted players will become free agents.

From 2005 to 2010, the league has limited the draft into two rounds. This restriction was attributed to an agreement between the PBA and the Philippine Basketball League (PBL), which also included a development fee to the PBL team from which the player was drafted. This was removed in 2011 as the PBL had folded, and amateur players played in the PBA D-League instead.[6]

Expansion draft[edit]

There are three expansion drafts in the league's history. The first was in 1990, in which the new teams Pepsi Hotshots and the Pop Cola Sizzlers selected up to six players from the expansion pool, which is made up of three players from each of the six existing franchises. The second was in 2000, where newcomers Batang Red Bull Energizers selected players from the draft.

An expansion draft for new teams Blackwater Elite and Kia Sorento was held on July 18, 2014, so that both team can form its rosters for the 2014–15 season. The 10 existing PBA franchises protected up to 12 players in their roster.[7][8] Two time MVP Danny Ildefonso of the Meralco Bolts was selected as the first pick of the expansion draft by Blackwater, followed by Reil Cervantes of Barako Bull by Kia.[9]

Carry over amateurs[edit]

If a new franchise also has an existing franchise from an amateur league (from the Philippine Basketball League before 2011 and the PBA D-League afterwards), the franchise, upon approval from the PBA's Board of Governors, may be given an incentive of selecting players from their amateur team to be directly elevated to their PBA team. This was last given to the Welcoat Dragons, who elevated three players from their PBL team.

List of first overall picks[edit]

Flags indicate the country were the player studied college; all players are Filipinos until proven otherwise, like Sonny Alvarado's case where he fled the country as his citizenship was being questioned.

Draft Name PBA team College End-of-season awards of the first overall pick for the season Place
1985 Sonny Cabatu Shell Philippines PSBA* none
1986 Reynaldo Cuenco Alaska Philippines Arellano none
1987 Allan Caidic Great Taste Philippines UE Rookie of the Year, Mythical Five
1988 Jack Tanuan Purefoods Philippines FEU none
1989 Benjie Paras Shell Philippines UP Diliman Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Mythical Five
1990 Peter Jao Great Taste Philippines USJ-R none The ULTRA, Pasig
1991 Alejandro Araneta Alaska Philippines Ateneo none The ULTRA, Pasig
1992 Vergel Meneses Presto-Tivoli Philippines JRC none The ULTRA, Pasig
1993 Jun Limpot Sta. Lucia Philippines De La Salle Rookie of the Year, Mythical Second Team, All-Defensive Team The Peninsula Manila, Makati
1994 Noli Locsin Tondeña Philippines De La Salle** none Manila Hyatt Hotel, Manila
1995 Dennis Espino Sta. Lucia Philippines UST none New World Makati Hotel, Makati
1996 Marlou Aquino Ginebra Philippines Adamson Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Mythical Five, All-Defensive Team New World Makati Hotel, Makati
1997 Andy Seigle Mobiline United States New Orleans Rookie of the Year Glorietta, Makati
1998 Danny Ildefonso San Miguel Philippines NU Rookie of the Year, Mythical Second Team Glorietta, Makati
1999 Sonny Alvarado Tanduay United States Texas Mythical Team Glorietta, Makati
2000 Paolo Mendoza Sta. Lucia Philippines UP Diliman none Glorietta, Makati
2001 Willie Miller Red Bull Philippines Letran none Glorietta, Makati
2002 Yancy de Ocampo FedEx Philippines St. Francis Mythical Second Team Glorietta, Makati
2003 Mike Cortez Alaska Philippines De La Salle Mythical Second Team Glorietta, Makati
2004 Rich Alvarez Shell Philippines Ateneo Rookie of the Year, All-Defensive Team Glorietta, Makati
2005 Jay Washington Air21 United States Eckerd none Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall, Cainta
2006 Kelly Williams Sta. Lucia United States Oakland Rookie of the Year, Mythical Team Market! Market!, Taguig
2007 Joe Devance Welcoat United States UTEP none Market! Market!, Taguig
2008 Gabe Norwood Rain or Shine United States George Mason Rookie of the Year, Mythical Second Team Market! Market!, Taguig
2009 Japeth Aguilar Burger King United States WKU*** none Market! Market!, Taguig
2010 Nonoy Baclao Air21 Philippines Ateneo none Market! Market!, Taguig
2011 JVee Casio Powerade Philippines De La Salle Sportsmanship Award Robinsons Place Ermita, Manila
2012 June Mar Fajardo Petron Philippines University of Cebu Mythical Second Team Robinsons Place Ermita, Manila
2013 Greg Slaughter Barangay Ginebra Philippines Ateneo**** Mythical Second Team, Rookie of the Year Robinsons Place Ermita, Manila
2014 Stanley Pringle GlobalPort United States Penn State Mythical Second Team, Rookie of the Year Robinsons Place Ermita, Manila
2015 Moala Tautuaa Talk 'N Text United States Chadron State Robinsons Place Ermita, Manila

*Cabatu previously played for UNP and UB before PSBA.
**Locsin studied at Saint Benilde while he was playing for De La Salle.
***Aguilar played for Ateneo before playing for WKU.
****Slaughter played for UV before playing for Ateneo.

By school[edit]

School Total
De La Salle 4
UP Diliman 2
Others 1 each