Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan or Vitaly Potapenko, Erick Dampier over Kobe Bryant?? MVPs Karl Malone, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki with the 13th pick, 15th pick,and 8th pick respectively? or Career Assist and Steals Leader John Stockton with the 16th pick?

These are just some of the Greatest Steals in the Draft history of the NBA.
The draft order is really not the basis of greatness in the NBA and that is also evident in the PBA as well, so let’s take a look at some of the greatest steals in the PBA Draft.

1. Ato agustin (1989) 12th overall

– A virtual unknown in his collegiate days because he played for a non-NCAA, non-UAAP team. The Atom Bomb was picked at the bottom of the draft surpassed by the likes of Dindo Pumaren, Bobby Jose and RicRic Marata. But Ato, wasted no time in proving his worth, because after winning the most improved player award during his sophomore year, he won the the MVP award a year after. Not only did Ato Agustin made a mark as a player, because just recently he made history by winning a PBA crown as a coach. Truly, Ato can be considered as the greatest steal in the draft.


PBA MVP (1992)
Most Improved Player (1991)
25 greatest players
NCAA and PBA champion coach

2. Jimmy Alapag (2003) 10th overall

– The “mighty mouse” was picked late maybe because of his small frame (standing only at 5″9″) and his unknown basketball background in the states. Mike Cortez, Rommel Adducul, Eddie Laure,ย  Marlon Legazpi (sino to?!) and even teammate Harvey Carey were some of the names that were picked ahead of the one-time PBA MVP and consistent member of the Philippine National team.


PBA MVP (2011)
9x All-star
All star game MVP
Rookie of the year (2003)
2x Finals MVP (co MVP w/ Jason Castro)
FIBA Asiaย  Silver Medalist (GILAS)

3. Kenneth Duremdes (1995) 3rd overall

– “Captain Marvel” was a college stand-out in Adamson, that’s why he was the top 3 over-all in the PBA draft but the reason why I considered him a steal in the draft
was because of the name that was picked ahead of him, (just imagine Sam Bowie – no.2 over Michael Jordan – no.3) the disapponting EJ Feihl.
The PBA Legend, wasn’t picked by Ginebra because they were amazed at the 7foot tall Feihl, but this turned out to be one of the most “controversial” moves in the history of Ginebra and in the PBA. Duremdes turned out to be even greater than #1 pick Dennis Espino and was considered the greatest of his class.


PBA MVP (1998)
10x All star
3x member of the Philippine National team
25 greatest players
Finals MVP (1998)

4. Mark Caguioa (2001) 3rd overall

– “EJ Feihl and Kenneth Duremdes all-over gain!”. Mark Caguiao was chosen after Shell picked up Mike Hrabak, this time Ginebra benefiting from the “bust” that
Shell Made. Mike Hrabak turned out to be a fine player, but his play didn’t last long compared to Caguioa who became one of the Legitimate Superstars the PBA
has ever had. The “Spark” went on toย  become a multiple champion w/ Ginebra and a Mythical team member for numerous times.

10 x All-star
1 x Philippine National team Member
Rookie of the year (2001)
Multiple member of the Mythical Team
3x Best player of the conference
1x MVP (2012)

5. Gary David (2004) 10th overall,

– The current “best player of the conference” and the “hottest player” in the PBA right now, wasn’t actually a “heralded” player when he came to PBA even though he
was the PBL MVP before entering the draft. This is because of the more “marquee” players that time, namely; Rich Alvarez, James Yap, Marc Pingris, Ranidel de Ocampo and Sonny Thoss who were picked 1-5 respectively. The first 5 players were actually good picks but from 6-9, you would just really wonder why they were picked ahead of “El Granada”. Denver Lopez, Ervin Sotto, Nelbert Omolon, Wesley Gonzales were picked ahead of Gary David, so it is just fitting that we put Gary David on the list of the “greatest steals in the PBA Draft history”


2x Scoring Champion (2010,2011)
2x All Star
Most improved Player (2007)
Best player of the conference (2011)
FIBA Asia Silver medalist (GILAS)

Honorable mentions: Cyrus Baguio 14th (2003), Larry Fonacier 14th (2005), Ronald Tubid 16th (2003), Peter June Simon 43rd (2001)

Tell me what you think of this list! Do you have a better list than this?

Comment now!

About Ace!

Technology Transfer and Business Development Officer Office of the Vice Chancellor for R&D, UP Diliman Organizational communication Graduate University of the Philippines Manila President - QCPACE- UMYF Vocalist- Footlong, Rapid Pagongs Member- ALAB Judah and PUMC Worship team

25 responses »

  1. jaryrose says:

    wala pong pang 6????

  2. asda says:

    isa lang masasabi ko dyan kahit naman kasi number 23 pick ka sa draft if you really are passionate on playing basketball you can be really be a great player isipin niyo if mark caguioa was drafted on some team which bangko lang siya do you think he would have been a good player ? its a matter of hardwork and oppurtunity

  3. 2001: John Arigo, #5
    2002: Renren Ritualo, #8
    2007: Ronjay Buenafe, #11
    2008: Jeff Chan, #17

  4. inggo says:

    Wow di mo kilala si marlon legazpi? Actually magaling na player yan, binangko lang ng smb.

  5. Set your facts straight! says:

    It’s Mark CAGUIOA, man! :p

  6. Jay N. says:

    nice one ace… hindi mo nabanggit si Jay N. jan… hehehe

  7. peaceout says:



    Sir saan ka nalilito???

  8. Kuya Powie Cantiller says:

    wow very accurate

  9. memong says:

    peter june simon!!!

    • Ace! says:

      kung top 10 cguro andun si PJ Simon?hehe. actually torned tlga ako kasi sobrang layo ng pick nya pero naging good player siya.๐Ÿ™‚

  10. louie says:

    Si Marc Pingris.. Sonny Thoss.. 2004 picks maliban kay rich alvarez.. Hahahha

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