During the Season 48 PBA Gatorade Draft held Sunday, outspoken Rain or Shine Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao dropped several quotable quotes with regard to parity in the league and the propensity of teams to trade away top draft picks.
This draft was one of the deepest in years, and in a unique twist, none of the top four teams in the league last season -- San Miguel Beermen, Barangay Ginebra, TNT Tropang Giga, and Magnolia Hotshots -- had a first round pick, and only one -- Ginebra -- had one in the second round.
It was the perfect time for the rest of the league to narrow the talent gap, as Guiao noted.
"The talent level is there. If you're looking to strengthen your team, this is the time," Guiao told a group of reporters.
"A record number of draftees -- very deep talent -- and what's good here is the top teams don't have draftees. TNT, San Miguel, Magnolia, Ginebra didn't have early picks.
"The problem is, in one or two years, they'll get the players everyone else (have) got now. It's like an incubation period. If you're serious in competing, this is the time to pick your talent and develop your talent -- if you're serious. If you're not serious, you'll just be an incubator.
"I think we have to put a lot of emphasis on parity to improve our league. We see the other Asian pro leagues, they're developing and progressing by leaps and bounds. We've been overtaken, so we need to catch up."
Basically, Guiao merely said what's been on many fans' minds for a long time now.
In the past ten years, only one top draft pick -- Greg Slaughter -- stayed with the team that drafted him (Ginebra) for longer than five years. All the others either found their way to perennial contenders, dropped out of the league or left for abroad.
Here's a breakdown of what happened to the past eight number one picks of the draft.
August 2014 (Season 40): Stanley Pringle (GlobalPort Batang Pier)
What happened: Pringle played for the Batang Pier for four and a half seasons, winning Rookie of the Year but reaching the semifinals just once.
In June 2019, he was traded to Ginebra for Kevin Ferrer, Jervy Cruz and Sol Mercado and has since won four PBA championships.
August 2015 (Season 41): Mo Tautuaa (Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters via Blackwater Elite)
What happened: The pick was supposed to belong to the Blackwater Elite, but it was traded to the Tropang Texters in October 2014 in a three-team trade that involved the Elasto Painters.
The Elite received Talk 'N Text's 2015 first rounder plus Larry Rodriguez from Rain or Shine. As it turned out, Blackwater had the worst record in the 2014-15 season, handing the top overall pick to Talk 'N Text, which it used to select Mo Tautuaa, a 6-foot-8 Fil-Tongan who could run the floor very well for a player of his size.
Tautuaa played two and a half seasons for Talk 'N Text before being traded to GlobalPort, which in turn traded him to San Miguel Beermen.
October 2016 (Season 42): Raphael Banal (Blackwater Elite)
What happened: This draft had two parts: the "special Gilas draft" where each team got to pick a member of the Gilas Cadets, and the "regular" draft, which was diluted of top talent due to the former.
It turned out to be one of the weakest drafts in league history, and only four players from that regular draft are still in the league. Banal went on to play just 41 games over three seasons for Blackwater.
October 2017 (Season 43): Christian Standhardinger (San Miguel Beermen via Kia Picanto)
What happened: A whole lot.
The Beermen's drafting of Standhardinger caused so much dissension within the PBA's teams that it ultimately forced Commissioner Chito Narvasa to resign and created a wedge between two camps of teams. Standhardinger was coming in as a hot prospect, a genuine stud who could turn around a team's fortunes.
Kia Picanto owned the top pick thanks to their dismal showing the season prior. Two days before the draft, Narvasa approved a trade that sent Kia's top pick to the Beermen in exchange for role players Jay-R Reyes, Ronald Tubid and Rashawn McCarthy, plus SMB's own first round pick.
Team owners Wilfred Steven Uytengsu of Alaska and Dioceldo Sy of Blackwater both publicly criticized the trade. Kia officials were forced to defend the trade, stating that they wanted veteran talent over a promising rookie to fit their "unconventional type of basketball."
As expected, the Beermen drafted Standhardinger, who won two titles with SMB before being traded to NorthPort for Tautuaa. He eventually found his way to Ginebra, where he has won two more titles and has become a vital part of Tim Cone's rotation. For his career he's averaged 14.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest.
The fiasco spurred new commissioner Willie Marcial to institute changes in the league rules for trades, including the establishment of a trade committee that would oversee all trade requests.
December 2018 (Season 44): CJ Perez (Columbian Dyip)
What happened: After giving up the chance to have Standhardinger, the Picanto and their veteran talent again ended up with the worst record in the league, which again gave them the top pick in the 2018 draft.
Now known as the Columbian Dyip, the team selected CJ Perez, a dynamic and athletic guard with a great attitude. Perez quickly became the Dyip's main man, winning Rookie of the Year and averaging league-bests of 20.8 and 24.4 points per game in his first two seasons with the team.
In February 2021, the Dyip traded Perez to San Miguel Beermen for Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, Gelo Alolino and Russell Escoto. The Dyip also got the Beermen's first round pick (eighth overall) in the 2021 draft.
Perez's production has dipped with the Beermen, but he's won a championship and is a regular fixture in the national pool.
December 2019 (Season 45): Roosevelt Adams (Columbian Dyip)
What happened: For the third straight season, Columbian had the top overall pick, which they used on Roosevelt Adams. It also had the top pick in another Gilas special draft, which turned into Isaac Go.
Adams played just 22 games and two seasons with the Dyip before heading to Japan. After tearing his ACL last year, Go is back with the team, now known as Terrafirma Dyip.
March 2021 (Season 46): Joshua Munzon (Terrafirma Dyip)
What happened: For the fourth straight draft, the Dyip had the top overall pick.
This time, they used it on guard Joshua Munzon, who had starred in the D-League and the 3x3 circuit. Munzon injured his hand in the Bacolor Bubble and played just nine games for Terrafirma in the 2021-22 season. In January 2023, he was traded to NorthPort for Ferrer.
May 2022 (Season 47): Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser (Blackwater Bossing)
What happened: The Bossing had the first pick in the draft for the first time in six years and used it on athletic 6-7 forward Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser.
'BGR' would go on to play just eight games for the Bossing before being traded to NLEX Road Warriors in a three-team trade that saw Blackwater get TNT forward Troy Rosario.
Ganuelas-Rosser had a productive 2023 Governors' Cup, averaging 15.3 PPG for the Road Warriors. He was also named to the gold medal-winning Gilas team to the 2023 Southeast Asian Games.