Philippine Basketball Association draft

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 between October to December, during the league's off-season. No player may sign with the PBA until he has been eligible for at least one draft. However, foreign player-nationals of Filipino descent are ineligible for both the draft and the league if they are aged 31 years and up.


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

For local players the requirements are that they must:

  • Be 22 years old on the day of the draft, previously 21. If the players are 19 or older but not yet 22, they must have completed at least two years of college eligibility. Formerly, applicants younger than 21 must have either been college graduates or played four years of their eligibility;
  • Be also 22 or above and four years removed from their high school graduation or have had only one year of college basketball;
  • Play at least seven games in one PBA Developmental League conference;
  • Reach at least 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m) in height.

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

  • Play at least seven games in each of the two PBA Developmental League conferences, unless they are at the age of 27 and above but, since July 2021, under 30;
  • Have a valid Philippine passport. Until the 46th season's draft in March 2021, they must have had documents from the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration proving their Philippine citizenship. This clause was repealed later in November that year;
  • Ensure that, if they graduated from secondary school 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 and is automatically eligible for selection. The changes in eligibility rules are in effect starting in the 2015 draft.[1] For the 46th season's draft held on March 14, 2021, the PBA decided to forgo the seven-game requirement[2] after the 2020 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup was cancelled.

Imports – non-Filipino citizens, even those born in the Philippines – do not enter the PBA via the draft. They are directly signed by teams, and only play in some conferences. Naturalized citizens can only play in the association also as imports. But, an undrafted player with Filipino descent who is a foreign national age 31 and above is ineligible to be an import.

Starting with the 47th season's draft in 2022, the following changes were implemented:

  • Players who opt out of the draft on their year of eligibility had to sit out five years before they can apply again:[3]
    • Players can still enter the draft three years into the five-year sit-out period but they are not be part of the regular draft. Instead they are entered in a special lottery which includes all franchises.
  • Filipino-descended foreigners must have a valid passport and not be older than age 30.[4][5]


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.[6]

The drafting order is also subject to change if a team deals their draft picks in trades. The draft is finished if all teams have passed.

Draft lotteryEdit

Before 2015, a draft lottery determined which team gets the first overall draft pick, but in a much smaller scale; only the two worst-performing teams in the preceding season participated. The team with the worst record had a 67% chance of clinching the No. 1 seed while the second-worst only got a 33% chance.[7] The lottery was usually held prior to the finals of the final conference of the season. It was abandoned after the controversies that aroused during the lottery for the first pick of the 2014 draft.[8][9]

Number of roundsEdit

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

From 2005 to 2010, the association limited the draft to 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.[10]

Expansion draftEdit

There have been 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, when 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.[11][12] 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.[13]

Carry over amateursEdit

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 picksEdit

^ 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 competed as college student-athletes; 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   PSBA[b] 5.2 4.83 0.53
1986 Rey Cuenco^ Alaska   Arellano 5.4 3.59 0.62
1987 Allan Caidic* Great Taste   UE 16.6 3.27 1.9
1988 Jack Tanuan Purefoods   FEU 2.6 2.24 0.52
1989 Benjie Paras*[c] Shell   UP Diliman 25.8 12.98 2.05
1990 Peter Jao Great Taste   USJ-R The Ultra, Pasig 7.8 2.13 1.25
1991 Alejandro Araneta Alaska   Ateneo The Ultra, Pasig 5.2 3.89 0.49
1992 Vergel Meneses^ Presto-Tivoli   JRU The Ultra, Pasig 17.69 2.15 1.59
1993 Jun Limpot^ Sta. Lucia   De La Salle The Peninsula, Makati 20.6 8.09 2.27
1994 Noli Locsin^ Tondeña   De La Salle[d] Manila Hyatt Hotel, Manila 18.5 8.78 2.9
1995 Dennis Espino^ Sta. Lucia   UST New World Makati Hotel, Makati 14.7 6.34 1.23
1996 Marlou Aquino^ Ginebra   Adamson New World Makati Hotel, Makati 17.9 8.39 1.82
1997 Andy Seigle Mobiline   New Orleans Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 13.5 9.93 2.29
1998 Danny Ildefonso^ San Miguel   NU Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 11.6 5.04 1.58
1999 Sonny Alvarado^ Tanduay   Texas Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 22.9 13.13 3.9
2000 Paolo Mendoza Sta. Lucia   UP Diliman Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 8.0 2.45 2.13
2001 Willie Miller^ Red Bull   Letran Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 7.6 2.76 2.29
2002 Yancy De Ocampo^ FedEx   St. Francis Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 7.0 5.58 0.36
2003 Mike Cortez^ Alaska   De La Salle Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 11.4 4.41 4.2
2004 Rich Alvarez Shell   Ateneo Glorietta Activity Center, Makati 8.8 6.39 2.4
2005 Jay Washington^ Air21   Eckerd Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall, Cainta 5.3 3.66 0.94
2006 Kelly Williams^ Sta. Lucia   Oakland Market! Market!, Taguig 17.3 9.56 1.69
2007 Joe Devance^ Welcoat   UTEP Market! Market!, Taguig 13.6 6.5 1.1
2008 Gabe Norwood^ Rain or Shine   George Mason Market! Market!, Taguig 11.5 7.95 3.27
2009 Japeth Aguilar^ Burger King   Western Kentucky[e] Market! Market!, Taguig 10.0 9.0 2.0
2010 Nonoy Baclao Air21   Ateneo Market! Market!, Taguig 3.4 5.2 1.1
2011 JVee Casio Powerade   De La Salle Robinsons Place, Manila 11.9 3.1 6.4
2012 June Mar Fajardo^ Petron   University of Cebu Robinsons Place, Manila 12.1 9.3 0.6
2013 Greg Slaughter^ Barangay Ginebra   Ateneo[f] Robinsons Place, Manila 14.6 10.1 1.5
2014 Stanley Pringle^ GlobalPort   Penn State Robinsons Place, Manila 14.0 5.9 3.8
2015 Moala Tautuaa Talk 'N Text   Chadron State Robinsons Place, Manila 8.93 4.1 1.24
2016 No first overall pick[g] Robinsons Place, Manila
2017 Christian Standhardinger San Miguel   Hawaii Robinsons Place, Manila 16.59 9.26 1.56
2018 CJ Perez^ Columbian   Lyceum Robinsons Place, Manila 20.8 7.39 3.36
2019 Roosevelt Adams[h] Columbian   College of Idaho Robinsons Place, Manila 10.33 8.11 0.89
2020 (S46)[i] Joshua Munzon Terrafirma[j]   Cal State Los Angeles TV5 Media Center, Mandaluyong
(draft held via conference call)
19.0 4.33 3.17
2021 (S47) Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser Blackwater   UC Riverside Robinsons Place, 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 2021 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 was composed of two pools: the Gilas pool, which consists of players reserved for the Philippines internationals, 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 regular draft.
  8. ^ The 2019 draft was composed of two drafts: the Gilas special draft, which consists of five players reserved for the Philippines national team, and the regular draft. Isaac Go was selected as the first pick in the special draft. Adams (College of Idaho) was selected by Columbian Dyip as the first pick of the regular draft.
  9. ^ Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 and succeeding drafts have been held, and its picks were exercised, one year later.
  10. ^ The 46th season draft was also composed of two drafts: the Gilas special draft, which consists of players reserved for the Philippines, and the regular draft. Jordan Heading was selected as the first pick in the special draft. Joshua Munzon (Cal State Los Angeles) was selected by Terrafirma Dyip as the first pick of the regular draft.

By schoolEdit

School Total
Ateneo 5
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. ^ "2021 PBA Rookie Draft scheduled March 14". December 5, 2020. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  3. ^ "New draft rules include five-year sit-out period, special lottery for players who delay PBA application". Sports Interactive Network Philippines. July 24, 2021. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  4. ^ Li, Matthew (July 24, 2021). "Fil-foreigners above 30 no longer allowed to join PBA". Tiebreaker Times. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  5. ^ "PBA eases restrictions on Fil-foreigners' eligibility". November 9, 2021. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  6. ^ "If PBA draft is held today, this team will hit the jackpot - and it's not Blackwater". April 10, 2015.
  7. ^ "Again, Welcoat to pick first in PBA rookie draft". GMA News. August 2, 2008. Retrieved February 2, 2009.
  8. ^ Salud says sorry for 'crude' conduct of PBA draft lottery, but insists it was an honest draw, Snow Badua,, July 4, 2014
  9. ^ PBA rules out re-draw of draft lottery after board settles controversy in emergency meeting Archived September 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Richard Dy,, July 5, 2014
  10. ^ Belen, Reynaldo (August 23, 2011). "PBA allows draft to last beyond two rounds". Archived from the original on October 2, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  11. ^ No direct hires for three PBA expansion teams, but board relents to 'Protect 12' scheme, additional draft picks, Karlo Sacamos,, April 24, 2014
  12. ^ PBA expansion teams given more draft rights, Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star, April 24, 2014
  13. ^ FLASH: Blackwater makes Danny Ildefonso the first pick of PBA dispersal draft, Snow Badua,, July 18, 2014