Sydman's Side Defect: The 2001 PBA Draft Review

A look back at the 2001 Draft.

This is a first of nine installments on how these draftees performed in the biggest stage in Philippine basketball. Well, you know that I always look forward to the PBA Draft because I like keeping tabs on the “next big thing”. While I can conclude that some didn’t live up to their hype, others performed to the point of making history.

Despite the fact that the 2001 Draft lasted for six rounds, in depth reporting will only focus on the first two rounds. Although, coming from the third round and so on, came a bunch of players that in their way contributed in the league.

From the third round, Dino Manuel (22 – Shell), played for Purefoods before moving to the MBA. Marlon Piodo (23 – Ginebra) played a starter’s role in Davao, which prompted Ginebra to select him. DLSU’s Mon Jose (24 – Pop Cola) played a season for the Panthers before becoming a Purefoods assistant coach while June Longalong (25 – Mobiline) found his way in the big league when former Manila Metrostars coach Louie Alas headcoached the Phone Pals. Former Letran Knight Paul Guerrero (29 – Purefoods) had a stint in Davao before playing a couple of seasons with Purefoods but amongst these players, Allan Salangsang (27 – Tanduay) is the only player currently playing in the league, playing for TNT, Coke, and Ginebra before settling as one of the coming-off-the-bench heroes of Rain or Shine.

In Round 4, the last to play in the PBA is former Pasig Pirate Jonathan de Guzman (37 – Purefoods). He played for TNT in the 2007-08 season where in 2 games he posted averages of 0.5rpg and 1.0apg. Ryan Bernardo (34 – Mobiline), a burly big man that once played for the Laguna Lakers, played for FedEx and Coke.

Two of the three fifth-rounders are still playing in the PBA. David Friedhof (39 – Tanduay) played for Tanduay and FedEx when Derrick Pumaren was at helm. And then there’s Peter June Simon and Topex Robinson. These Purefoods’ teammates had to wait before they could play in the league and the wait was worth it. Simon (43 – Sta. Lucia), played college ball at University of Mindanao when some crackhead thought it was a good idea for him to apply in the 2001 Draft. He would later play a stellar role in the post-Donbel Belano Davao Eagles where his teammates included Billy Mamaril and Jondan Salvador. When the MBA closed, he played for the PBL’s Hapee Toothpaste where he claimed MVP honors against Jojo Tangkay. He played sparingly for the Giants before becoming the team’s best offense off the bench. In 2008, he became the All-Star MVP.

Meanwhile, Topex (44 – Tanduay) was a seldom-used backup during the Romel Adducul-led San Sebastian squad. He then played for the MBA’s San Juan Knights where he was a backup for Chito Victolero and Gherome Ejercito. He then went to Shark Energy Drink in the PBL where he became an offensive showcase. Yeng Guiao saw his potential and signed him as a free agent in Red Bull where until last season, he proved to be a worthy addition to the Barako franchise. He has since transferred to Purefoods.

If you are reading the paragraphs (and not going directly to the draft picks), you’ll notice that most of the players mentioned had MBA roots. This was the first Draft in which MBA players were drafted. Before, MBA players where treated as free agents. To maintain equality amongst the teams, the players cannot be directly taken from “free agency”.


20 – POP COLA: ATO MORANO – He was first noticed playing for the earlier versions of Welcoat. Then he played alongside Ralph Rivera and Rensy Bajar at San Beda under coach Dong Vergiere, which ultimately led to him playing with the three at the inaugural game of the Pangasinan Presidents. He then moved to the Pampanga Dragons midseason where he was a key instrument in their championship drive. He played his entire career with the Pop/Coke franchise where he helped the team win the 2002 All-Filipino Cup and the 2003 Reinforced Conference.

19 – SAN MIGUEL: JOMAR TIERRA – The former UE Warrior played alongside Eugene Quilban and Jojit Duremdes in the Davao Eagles. Then he was selected by SMB but he didn’t play. Instead he headed to Sta. Lucia where thanks to his brother Adonis, he became part of the roster. His PBA stint was forgettable.

18 – ALASKA: KENNY EVANS – Evans was one of the prep guards made famous by the MBA, coming in during the second season, the former San Francisco State slasher (the school where Bill Russell attended) played for the Cebu Gems. He played for Alaska where he was seldom used. He was then taken by TNT midway in 2003 where he became a significant player. Greed ended his career when he protested to sign with the Phone Pals because they gave him a pay cut. He was last seen playing for the regional leagues and has never been seen on TV since.

17 – TANDUAY: CHARLES DE JESUS – If Jomar Tierra’s PBA stint was forgettable, De Jesus was a never known. I don’t even recall him seeing in the PBL! All I know is that he played for Western Wyoming. THAT’S ALL!

16 – STA. LUCIA: JOJO TANGKAY – Norman Black once claimed that while he was coaching Sta. Lucia, Tangkay scored 40 points in an exhibition game. Too bad he couldn’t shine in the big leagues. We seen him dominate the PBL, Liga, and the other commercial leagues but he can’t seem to shine in the PBA. After a stint in Sta. Lucia, Tangkay returned to the minors but had a brief stint with the TNT Phone Pals in 2003. He played for Welcoat in the PBL where he almost won MVP honors which prompted the team to acquire him when they climb up to the pro ranks in 2006. He was released before the 2008-09 season and almost claimed a championship for the Cebu Ninos in the 2009 Liga Conference.

15 – TANDUAY: RICKY CALIMAG – Calimag of San Beda was one of the rare true rookies selected by a PBA team in the early rounds. Playing sparingly, he was quickly released after a season (went on playing for Montana Jewels). He returned to the pros when Sta. Lucia lost most of its bench to FedEx (namely Ejercito, Omanzie Rodriguez, and Marvin Ortiguerra) because of Kenneth Duremdes’ humongous salary. He played as a solid contributor and he continued the role when he was swapped to the Tigers alongside Duremdes and Alex Cabagnot.

14 – POP COLA: JOVY SESE – He was one of the cornerstones of the Laguna Lakers franchise (alongside UM standouts Biboy Simon and Wynne Arboleda). Unfortunately his stint in the PBA was dismal. After his rookie season he has since resurfaced in the minor leagues.

13 – GINEBRA: MARLON BASCO – Basco was a lanky, tough-as-nails player coming from the University of Luzon. His MBA stint with the Vince Hizon-led Iloilo Megavoltz paved the way for Ginebra to pick him in the second round. On a plus side, he was a workhorse that was ready to step up whenever his more popular teammates were saddled by injuries. However, Ginebra’s depth caused him to play sparingly, which led to his exodus. The current Cebu Ninos stalwart was once a NBC MVP (this was before the NBC-MVBA merge) and is a dominating fixture in the Noli Eala-commissioned league.

12 – RED BULL: ANTON VILLORIA – Villoria was a star in Letran and he brought his status to the Welcoat team in the PBL, being one of the threats of the team. When he came to the PBA, he played behind Jimwell Torion and Willie Miller, but this didn’t stop him from creating career progress. However, his or someone else’s decision to send him to SMB proved to be his downfall.

11 – TANDUAY: OLIVER AGAPITO – The 6’6 center first drew spotlight as the center for the St. Benilde Blazers and for Welcoat in the PBL. He then went to MBA’s Pangasinan Presidents and Batangas Blades but his MBA stint wasn’t really spectacular. When he was picked by Tanduay, he too played less and was quickly released. He found himself in the minor leagues before returning as part of Red Bull. He last played for Coke in the PBA.

10 – SAN MIGUEL: JOEY MENTE – He played college ball for Lyceum, but he earned nationwide attention when he played for the Iloilo Megavoltz. A surprise shocker in the first round, he quickly became SMB’s prep third guard after Olsen Racela and Boybits Victoria. His gungho style of play made him a crowd favorite. He would then become a combo guard where his quickness and fearlessness earned him accolades. In fact, this pint-sized guard was the 2001 Dunk King. He last played for Rain or Shine and his antics paved for the MisOr Meteors to win their second consecutive Liga crown.

9 – PUREFOODS: ROGER YAP – The Rabbit (as dubbed by Quinito Henson) was a little-known Cebuano player who gained a following after playing for Chowking in the PBL Vis-Min Cup. He was quickly asked to join the Manila team and when the name changed to Shark, he was the top scorer of the team. He played for Purefoods but was traded to Shell. When the team disbanded, his rights were ceded to FedEx and then he returned to Purefoods. He is the team’s top quarterback.

8 – STA. LUCIA: MARVIN ORTIGUERRA – Without the MBA stars he could have been a Top 5 prospect with a future to dominate. However, his PBA stint proved to be miserable. Injuries saddled his career and he was often a miscast. A member of the UST Growling Tigers and the PBL’s ANA Water (plus he was a classmate during my UST days), he was too small to be a power forward and was too heavy to play SF. After playing for Sta. Lucia, he played for FedEx before moving down to Welcoat and Harbour Centre in the PBL. He currently plays for the Taguig team in Liga.

7 – MOBILINE: NORMAN GONZALES – The former San Beda Lion gained prominence after joining the Pampanga Dragons of the MBA where he was instrumental for the inaugural win. When he entered the league, there were doubts of whether he’ll stick. This was further enhanced from the fact that he was dragged down by an alleged drug use that made him miss most of the 2003 season. In 2004, he was traded to the Realtors where Gonzales deals great help off the bench, displacing all the critics who doubted his determination to succeed in the pro ranks.

6 – STA. LUCIA: FRANCIS ADRIANO – Playing for PSBA and FEU during his college days, the Samboy Lim-like player decided to play for the Pasig Blue Pirates in the MBA alongside de Guzman, Bong Ravena, and the late Gido Babilonia. After deciding to move to the PBA he saw himself battling for position in the slasher-filled Realtors. He was a member of their first championship crown and his tenure would last for seasons. Then when his contract was up, he decided to play for San Miguel, a team filled with high-profiled slashers. He was traded to Red Bull where he would enjoy career revival but unfortunately, he was waived at the start of the 2008-09 season.

5 – ALASKA: JOHN ARIGO – Alaska was in their rebuilding stage – having taking out most of the 1996 championship team. Arigo, a product of North Florida, was said to be the Reggie Miller of the Philippines. While he lacked the defense intensity of Miller, he displayed skills shooting the lights out of arenas. When he was traded to Coke, he hated it… but still played it out like a pro. Then his injuries started which made him miss a large amount of games. He is now playing for the star-less Boosters and it seems that the 30-year-old shooter’s star time is up.

4 – MOBILINE: GILBERT DEMAPE – Demape was 28 when he applied for the draft. The former Cebu Tech star played in the PABL, (then) most notably for the Casino Rubbing Alcohol franchise and eventually to Welcoat. When the MBA came knocking, Demape played for the Louie Alas-coached Manila Metrostars. When Alas was tasked to coach TNT, Demape was tapped as the fourth overall. While he had moderate success in his first two years (he hit 5apg in his second season), Demape was not going to be a star in the league. With the fourth pick, the Pals could have taken Arigo, Yap, and even Ortiguerra. I consider the highness of Demape’s draft a poor use of a fourth pick. After an injury-plagued season with Purefoods, he is now playing in Liga where this Cebuano hotshot is still making a name with his playmaking skills and defensive tenacity.

3 – GINEBRA: MARK CAGUIOA – When this Glendale Community College standout was selected third in the 2001 Draft, audiences across the nation probably thought “What the fuck”. Here is this person, with blonde hair, looking like a promdi beautician, telling the public that he is the newest face of the league’s most revered ballclub. At first people question BG’s scouting but well, the fact is, HE IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY ARE LOOKING FOR! Arguably, he is the second coming of Sonny Jaworski. He is cocky, full of himself, and pretty darn entertaining! The flamboyant guard has the ability to streak score at any given chance! With his coming, the “Baranggay” finally had something to cheer at. And remember when he started, he was coming off the bench to replace Vergel Meneses but when his rookie season finished he was already hogging most of the Aerial Voyager’s minutes? That’s your spark/rookie of the year right there! His entry also caused many of “his second comings”… Fil-foreigners with foreign blood that seems to be a better baller than the Spark. Unfortunately, Brandon Cablay and Denver Lopez would find this distinction a curse more than a blessing.

2 – SHELL: MIKE HRABAK – Okay. If I consider Mark Caguioa as Michael Jordan, then does this mean Hrabak is Sam Bowie? DAMN RIGHT! When the Central Arizona player first arrived in the scene, everyone loved his height. At 6’7, surely he is a force INside. However, funny thing with Hrabak is that he doesn’t play INside but OUTside! Yes, the person everyone thought could be an Andy Seigle clone is a 3-point shooter and is a softie on the inside. When I made a bust column a few years back, I didn’t include his name on the list because I still think he has potential. His numbers began to dwindle after his first season and when Shell disbanded, his rights were sent to Purefoods, which found no use for his size and touch. After hibernation, he surfaced at Red Bull where he had a good comeback. Problem with him is he is still soft in crashing and while he gets the occasional blocks, he is no threat on the offensive end.

1 – RED BULL: WILLIE MILLER – In the NCAA, Letran scored back-to-back titles in the late 90’s due to the tandem of Erwin Velez and Chris Calaguio. The Knights also had Jason Misolas, Billy Moody, John Paul Prior, and an athletic player called Willie “The Spinner” Miller. He played for the Nueva Ejica Patriots in the MBA’s third season. He quickly delivered in providing the edge and he became one of the well-known stars of the league. When his contract was up, he applied to the draft. Red Bull, the first pick, could either get Miller or Hrabak. Luckily, they picked Miller. Miller in his second year with the team led the Barakos to a championship! Also in 2002, he received a MVP award. He was then traded to TNT for virtually nothing and he made the Phone Pals a much stronger and a more championship-driven ballclub. A trade with Alaska signaled another change in scenery and Tim Cone had to tinker on the triangle offense to suit the Thriller’s style of play. Eventually, Miller would help the Aces gain a crown. He also acquired his second MVP award.

DRAFT CLASS ANALYSIS: Minus the future perspective (or what we already know), the class was weak. By this time, most of the MBA’s best have been on PBA teams. Aside from Miller and Hrabak (he had hype), only Arigo (he had hype), Ortiguerra (UAAP star), and Yap (PBL star) could be considered “potential” stars. Caguioa was a virtual unknown that didn’t even got attention until his monstrous performance at the 2001 All-Filipino playoffs. Most of the first rounders were MBA role players and the ones that were in the latter rounds wouldn’t likely stick in the PBA. However, amongst the draftees, DLSU players had no luck going for them. Jose was the only DLSU player drafted that had a PBA career which left current PBA voice Dominic Uy, former Tropang Trumpo mainstay Maui Roca, and former DLSU stars Francis Zamora, Calijohn Orfrecio, and Allen Glenn Patrimonio drafted but unsigned. All of these players placed in the third round and higher. If you ask me, Uy, Zamora, and Patrimonio could have had better success in the PBA rather than some of the first round draftees.

Next up is the 2002 Draft. What are your thoughts? Why?

Because you just got Sydrified.



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