ELEVEN former Millennium Basketball League (MBL) players, led by the University of Santo Tomas stars Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag, made it in this year’s Gatorade PBA Rookie Draft 2016 at Robinson’s Place Manila.
Ferrer was picked by newly-crowned PBA Governor’s Cup champion Barangay Ginebra, while Daquioag was selected by runner-up Meralco.
The two players were part of the 12-man Gilas Pilipinas team chosen as part of the special PBA Draft.
In the MBL, Ferrer and Daquioag played for the Pido Jarencio-mentored UST Tigers, who captured the title in the 2013 MBL Open.
The Tigers defeated MOB, 93-82, in the winner-take-all final.
The 6-1 guard from Dingras, Ilocos Norte, who was voted as MBL Most Valuable Player, established a personal single-game high of 43 points in UST’s double overtime game against Wang’s Ballclub last April 13, 2013.
The other former MBL players who were selected during the regular draft are Jam Jamito (Ginebra), Joseph Eriobu (Mahindra), Chris Javier (Star), RaShawn McCarthy (San Miguel Beer), Jericho de Guzman (Ginebra) and Jeffy Javillonar (Phoenix) in the first round; Ryan Arambulo (Globalport), Jessie Saitanan (Meralco) and Cedrick Ablaza (Mahindra).
Jamito was the biggest surprise after being chosen at No. 3 in the regular draft by Ginebra.
The 6-5 standout from St. Clare College-Caloocan was a vital cog in the Saints’ 2012 NAASCU champion team under Dr. Ernesto Jay Adalem and coach Jino Manansala.
The Camarines Norte native saw action for AMA University under coach Mark Herrera in the MBL.
Eriobu, who played for Mapua and FEU-NRMF, and Javier, who saw action for University of the East, were selected No. 4 and No. 5 by Mahindra and Star, respectively.
The 6-1 McCarthy was drafted by San Miguel Beer, while the 6-11 De Guzman was taken in by Ginebra. McCarthy and De Guzman both played for AMA in the MBL.
Javillonar suited up for the RTU Blue Thunder of coach Beaujing Acot in the MBL.
Arambulo and Saitanan played for Wang’s Ballclub, while Ablaza suited up for Sea Lions in the MBL.
A total of 37 out of 53 aspirants were drafted.
The 16 undrafted hopefuls, however, can still join the PBA as part of the free agent pool.
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.