Who got away?
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson () - August 4, 2009 - 12:00am

Of the 52 hopefuls in the PBA draft last Sunday, 33 went home wondering if they’ll ever play in the pros.

There were only 19 players chosen in two rounds.

But it’s not a hopeless case for those who were ignored. Several undrafted players in the past went on to suit up in the PBA. The list includes Siot Tanquingcen, Don Dulay, Chico Lanete, Erick Rodriguez, Dennis Daa, Al Vergara, Chad Alonzo, Reed Juntilla, Christian Coronel and Froilan Baguion.

Last year, 19 of 48 applicants were picked in the draft and three who got away to later see action in the PBA were Mark Yee, Nathaniel Cruz and Lawrence Bonus.

In a pre-draft survey, the 10 PBA coaches sent in lists of their top 10 choices. There were 18 players named and 15 were drafted. The undrafted players among the 18 were Ramsey Williams (listed by Coca-Cola and Talk ‘N’ Text), Joshua Urbiztondo (listed by Alaska) and Brian Faundo (listed by Barako Bull).

The players who weren’t in the pre-draft survey lists but got picked anyway were Kelly Williams’ brother-in-law Charles Waters (by Sta. Lucia Realty), Francis Allera (by Coca-Cola), Sean Co (by Alaska) and P. J. Walsham (by Coca-Cola).

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Here are 10 hopefuls who weren’t picked but may still work their way into the PBA.

Joshua Urbiztondo, 26. The 5-10 1/2 guard’s father David is Filipino and mother Gail Doherty, American. Urbiztondo played on the national team that won the gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games in 2007. Once voted the PBL’s best defensive player, he hit 17 points, including 5-of-7 triples, in one rookie camp game and dished out seven assists in another.

Ramsey Williams, 29. The Fil-Am from Honolulu stands 5-11 1/2 and has PBL and Liga Pilipinas experience. In the rookie camp, he scored nine points in one game and collected three steals and three rebounds in another.

Bryan Faundo, 25. The former Letran 6-4 3/4 center was the fifth tallest in the draft pool after Japeth Aguilar, Rico Maierhofer, Michael Burtscher and Jerby del Rosario. He was the NCAA’s Most Improved Player in 2007-08. His 81-inch wingspan is an asset.

Roel Hugnatan, 24. Reynel’s brother played at Adamson, in the PBL (for four years) and in Liga. The burly 6-3 1/2, 205-pound forward pulled down nine rebounds in two games in the rookie camp.

Jemal Vizcarra, 26. The 6-0 1/4 guard played five years for UST and was the PBL’s Newcomer of the Conference in 2003-04. He averaged 6.5 points in two rookie camp games and knocked down 3-of-9 triples. In rookie camp, Vizcarra buried 19-of-25 treys to top all comers.

* * *

Jan Villaver, 27. A San Sebastian de Cavite standout, Villaver is from Cebu and has played in two Liga conferences. He scored 11 points, including 3-of-6 triples, and had no turnover in 13 minutes in his only rookie camp scrimmage.

Jobe Nkemakolam, 24. The wide-bodied Fil-Nigerian played three years at Ateneo under coach Norman Black. His mother Beverly Vidanes is Filipina. The 6-3 1/4, 220-pound center had two points, three rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes in a rookie camp game.

Jim Viray, 23. The ex-San Sebastian Stag celebrates his birthday tomorrow but didn’t get his advance wish last Sunday. The 6-3 gunner hit 10 points, including 2-of-5 triples, in one rookie camp game and nine points, including 1-of-3 treys, in another. He’s a steady free throw shooter who isn’t shy to jack them up.

Axel Doruelo, 26. The 5-11 point guard was named Best Import in the Malaysian league in 2008 and has played in the NCAA South, UAAP, PBL, Malaysia Cup, Governor’s Cup in Apayao, Mayor Lim Cup, Danny Espiritu Cup and Liga. He was consistent in the rookie camp, compiling eight points, three rebounds and four assists in one game and 12 points, five rebounds and one assist in another. Doruelo buried 3-of-5 triples in the two outings.

Richard Saladaga, 27. The 6-1 guard from the University of San Jose-Recoletos saw action for Pharex in the PBL and Lhuillier Cebu in Liga. He came off the bench twice in two rookie camp games, collecting six points and five rebounds in one and scoring five points in another. Saladaga was the only player to hit all five three-point shots from the first angle in the around-the-world competition at the camp.

There should’ve been 55 total applicants but UE’s Raymond Labagala, Raymond Aguilar and Marvin Adolfo failed to show up at the rookie camp. Of the 52 hopefuls, only Gerry Orera did not attend last Sunday’s draft.

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