TWENTY one players, led by the University of Santo Tomas duo of Ed Daquioag and Kevin Ferrer, have played in the Millennium Basketball League (MBL) before their expected entry to this year's Gatorade PBA Rookie Draft 2016 later this week.
Daquioag and Ferrer played for the UST Tigers, who captured the 2013 MBL Open title with multi-titled coach Pido Jarencio at the helm.
Daquioag, the 6-1 guard from Dingras, Ilocos Norte, was even voted as Most Valuable Player in the MBL.
The former Benedictine International School standout holds a personal single-game high of 43 points in UST’s double overtime loss to Wang's Ballclub last April 13, 2013.
Ferrer was also a key stalwart of the star-studded UST team which also included Jeric Teng, Aljon Mariano and Karim Abdul.
UST defeated MOB, 93-82, in the winner-take-all title showdown at the San Andres gym in 2013.
Two other rookie aspirants with MBL titles under their belt are Jordan de la Paz of Jose Rizal University and Jiggy Laude of Lyceum and Macway Travel Club.
De la Paz, the 6-2 guard from Pasig, played for the Heavy Bombers and coach Vergel Meneses when they defeated the UST Tigers in the 2012 MBL Invitational.
Among De la Paz's JRU teammates were MBL MVP Nate Matute, Philip Paniamogan and Michael Mabulac.
Laude was a member of Macway Travel Club which won the MBL title last May, 2016.
Four players from Wang’s Ballclub -- Jerald Cueto, Jeff Tayongtong, Ryan Arambulo and Jessie Saitanan -- are also seeking a place in Asia's first play-for-pay league.
The other rookie aspirants who honed their skills in the MBL are Jeff Javillonar (Rizal Technological University), Rashawn McCarthy, Jam Jamito and Jericho De Guzman (AMA University), Jaycee Asuncion (JRU), Joseph Eriobu (Mapua/FEU-NRMF), McJour Luib (Letran), Chris Javier, Gino Jumao-as and Erwin Duran (University of the East), John Ambulodto (San Jose Builders), Cedric Ablaza (Sea Lions) and Jayson Ibay (University of Manila).
The annual PBA Rookie Draft is scheduled on Oct.30 at Robinson’s Place Manila.
The MBL, headed by sports patron Alex Wang, is one of few commercial-collegiate leagues helping young players hone their skills before their entry to the PBA.
The MBL was established in 2000.