MANILA, Philippines, September 18 ------ The best talent prevailed as Terrafirma used the No. 1 pick on former NBA G League standout Stephen Holt in the PBA Season 48 Rookie Draft at the Market! Market! in Taguig.
Although one of the oldest in the draft, the 31-year-old boasts of the most impressive credentials, having played in the NBA Summer League and the National Basketball League in Australia as well. Holt, a globe-trotting player who also saw action in Andorra, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland, Kazakhstan, Slovenia, and Romania throughout a decade-long professional career, said he turned down offers to pursue his PBA dream. “It is definitely one of my goals in my career to play in the PBA,” said the 6-foot-4 Holt via Zoom as he remained in the United States and missed the draft proceedings.
Blackwater went with the next best talent, selecting 6-foot-6 guard Christian David with the second overall pick. David played for Butler University in the US NCAA Division 1 and signed with the Seoul Samsung Thunders in the Korean Basketball League before taking his act to the PBA. Addressing its need for frontcourt depth, Rain or Shine brought in 6-foot-7 Luis Villegas and 6-foot-8 Keith Datu as the third and fourth picks, respectively.
Villegas earned Mythical Five honors in his lone UAAP season with the University of the East, while Datu – a Chico State product in the United States – impressed during his time in the PBA 3×3. Zavier Lucero completed the top five, with NorthPort selecting the former University of the Philippines star forward. One of the most athletic players in this batch of rookies, Lucero joins the Batang Pier after a stellar two-season UAAP stint that saw him make the Mythical Five and help the Fighting Maroons win their first title in nearly four decades.
Phoenix also locked up an impact player in 6-foot-4 Ken Tuffin, regarded as the best shooter in this class. After a four-year UAAP career with the Far Eastern University, Tuffin spent the last three years in the New Zealand National Basketball League, where he helped the Wellington Saints win a championship.