Philippine Basketball Association draft

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The Philippine Basketball Association draft is an annual event dating back to 1985 in which the twelve teams from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) can draft players who are eligible and wish to join the league. The draft usually takes place in December, during the league's off-season. No player may sign with the PBA until he has been eligible for at least one draft.


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 at least four years of college eligibility;
  • 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;
  • Reach at least 5'6" (or 1.68 meters) in height.

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

  • Play at least seven games in each of the two conferences in the PBA Developmental League, unless they are 27 years old or older;
  • Have documents from the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration proving their Filipino citizenship;
  • Ensure that, if they graduated from secondary outside the Philippines, but did not enroll in a Philippine or non-Philippine college or university, four years have passed since their secondary school class graduated;
  • Have signed a contract with a professional basketball team outside the PBA, anywhere in the world, and have played under that contract. They also must be released from their contract before they can leave to go to the PBA.

Any person 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 and second rounds. In the third 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.

The draft will be finished if all teams have passed.

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]

^ Denotes players who have been selected to the Mythical Team
* Elected to the PBA Hall of Fame
(in italic text)
Rookie of the Year
PPG Points per game[a]
APG Assists per game[a]
RPG Rebounds per game[a]

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 Player Selected by College Draft venue PBA rookie statistics Ref.
1985 Sonny Cabatu Shell Philippines PSBA[b] 5.20 4.83 0.53
1986 Rey Cuenco^ Alaska Philippines Arellano 5.40 3.59 0.62
1987 Allan Caidic* Great Taste Philippines UE 16.6 3.27 1.90
1988 Jack Tanuan Purefoods Philippines FEU 2.60 2.24 0.52
1989 Benjie Paras*[c] Shell Philippines UP Diliman 25.80 12.98 2.05
1990 Peter Jao Great Taste Philippines USJ-R The ULTRA, Pasig 7.80 2.13 1.25
1991 Alejandro Araneta Alaska Philippines Ateneo The ULTRA, Pasig 5.20 3.89 0.49
1992 Vergel Meneses^ Presto-Tivoli Philippines JRC The ULTRA, Pasig 17.69 2.15 1.59
1993 Jun Limpot^ Sta. Lucia Philippines De La Salle The Peninsula Manila, Makati 20.60 8.09 2.27
1994 Noli Locsin^ Tondeña Philippines De La Salle[d] Manila Hyatt Hotel, Manila 18.50 8.78 2.90
1995 Dennis Espino^ Sta. Lucia Philippines UST New World Makati Hotel, Makati 14.70 6.34 1.23
1996 Marlou Aquino^ Ginebra Philippines Adamson New World Makati Hotel, Makati 17.90 8.39 1.82
1997 Andy Seigle Mobiline United States New Orleans Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 13.50 9.93 2.29
1998 Danny Ildefonso^ San Miguel Philippines NU Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 11.60 5.04 1.58
1999 Sonny Alvarado^ Tanduay United States Texas Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 22.90 13.13 3.90
2000 Paolo Mendoza Sta. Lucia Philippines UP Diliman Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 8.0 2.45 2.13
2001 Willie Miller^ Red Bull Philippines Letran Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 7.60 2.76 2.29
2002 Yancy De Ocampo^ FedEx Philippines St. Francis Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 7.00 5.58 0.36
2003 Mike Cortez^ Alaska Philippines De La Salle Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 11.40 4.41 4.20
2004 Rich Alvarez Shell Philippines Ateneo Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 8.80 6.39 2.40
2005 Jay Washington^ Air21 United States Eckerd Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall, Cainta 5.30 3.66 0.94
2006 Kelly Williams^ Sta. Lucia United States Oakland Market! Market!, Taguig 17.30 9.56 1.69
2007 Joe Devance^ Welcoat United States UTEP Market! Market!, Taguig 13.6 6.5 1.1
2008 Gabe Norwood^ Rain or Shine United States George Mason Market! Market!, Taguig 11.50 7.95 3.27
2009 Japeth Aguilar^ Burger King United States WKU[e] Market! Market!, Taguig 10.00 9.00 2.00
2010 Nonoy Baclao Air21 Philippines Ateneo Market! Market!, Taguig 3.40 5.20 1.10
2011 JVee Casio Powerade Philippines De La Salle Robinsons Place Manila, Manila 11.90 3.10 6.40
2012 June Mar Fajardo^ Petron Philippines University of Cebu Robinsons Place Manila, Manila 12.10 9.30 0.60
2013 Greg Slaughter^ Barangay Ginebra Philippines Ateneo[f] Robinsons Place Manila, Manila 14.60 10.10 1.50
2014 Stanley Pringle^ GlobalPort United States Penn State Robinsons Place Manila, Manila 14.00 5.90 3.80
2015 Moala Tautuaa Talk 'N Text United States Chadron State Robinsons Place Manila, Manila 8.93 4.10 1.24
2016 No first overall pick[g] Robinsons Place Manila, Manila N/A N/A N/A
2017 Christian Standhardinger San Miguel United States Hawaii Robinsons Place Manila, Manila 16.59 9.26 1.56
2018 CJ Perez Columbian Philippines Lyceum Robinsons Place Manila, Manila


  1. ^ a b c All statistics are taken from the players' respective rookie season unless otherwise noted.
  2. ^ Cabatu previously played for University of Northern Philippines and University of Baguio before PSBA.
  3. ^ Paras also won the Most Valuable Player award, the only player as of 2016 to win the citation on his rookie year.
  4. ^ Locsin studied at Saint Benilde while he was playing for De La Salle.
  5. ^ Aguilar played for Ateneo before playing for WKU.
  6. ^ Slaughter played for the University of the Visayas before playing for Ateneo.
  7. ^ The 2016 draft composed of two draft pools: the Gilas pool, which consists of players from the Gilas Pilipinas program and the regular pool. The pick order for the Gilas draft was not revealed and the regular draft started on the second round. Raphael Banal (Hope International University) was selected by Blackwater Elite as the first pick of the second round.

By school[edit]

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


  1. ^ Leongson, Randolph B. (June 16, 2015). "D-League stint now requirement for PBA Rookie Draft applicants". Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "If PBA draft is held today, this team will hit the jackpot - and it's not Blackwater". April 10, 2015.
  3. ^ "Again, Welcoat to pick first in PBA rookie draft". August 2, 2008. Retrieved February 2, 2009.
  4. ^ Salud says sorry for 'crude' conduct of PBA draft lottery, but insists it was an honest draw, Snow Badua,, July 4, 2014
  5. ^ PBA rules out re-draw of draft lottery after board settles controversy in emergency meeting, Richard Dy,, July 5, 2014
  6. ^ Belen, Reynaldo (August 23, 2011). "PBA allows draft to last beyond two rounds". Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  7. ^ No direct hires for three PBA expansion teams, but board relents to 'Protect 12' scheme, additional draft picks, Karlo Sacamos,, April 24, 2014
  8. ^ PBA expansion teams given more draft rights, Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star, April 24, 2014
  9. ^ FLASH: Blackwater makes Danny Ildefonso the first pick of PBA dispersal draft, Snow Badua,, July 18, 2014