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PBA Imports Who Were NBA 1st Rounders

liontamerliontamer Member PExer
Having seen the “PBA’s Best Imports” thread got me thinking about just how many NBA 1ST Rounders actually came to our shores to strut their stuff in the PBA. Well, the list I compiled from memory puts down 32 such players.

Kindly note as well that the former 23rd pick of the 1989 draft, Roy Marble of IOWA was brought in by GINEBRA only to be sent home a packing even before the start of the conference. According to then GINEBRA coach Jawo, Marble’s playing style wasn’t to his liking

For the record, Dennis Hopson was the highest drafted NBA player ever to grace our shores – even if it was only for 1 game, an out of town game at that.

Following are the 32 players:

1. Dennis Hopson, NEW JERSEY (3RD 1987 OHIO STATE) – PUREFOODS
2. Chris Morris, NEW JERSEY (4TH 1988 AUBURN) - PUREFOODS
3. George Trapp, ATLANTA (5th 1971 LONG BEACH STATE) -
4. Freeman Willams, BOSTON (9TH 1978 PORTLAND STATE) – TANDUAY
5. Larry Demic, NEW YORK (9TH 1979 ARIZONA) – CRISPA
6. Leon Wood, PHILADELPHIA (10TH 1984 CAL-STATE FULLERTON) – PUREFOODS
7. Darrell Walker, NEW YORK (12th 1983 ARKANSAS) – PUREFOODS
8. Ennis Whatley, KANSAS CITY (13TH 1983 ALABAMA) – SAN MIGUEL, PRESTO
9. Wes Matthews, WASHINGTON (14TH 1980 WISCONSIN) – GINEBRA
10. David Thirdkill, PHOENIX (15TH 1982 BRADLEY) – TANDUAY, PUREFOODS
11. Alfrederick Hughes, SAN ANTONIO (15TH 1985 LOYOLA) – POP COLA
12. Derrick Chievous, HOUSTON (16TH 1988 MISSOURI) – SAN MIGUEL
13. Glenn McDonald, BOSTON (17TH 1974 LONG BEACH STATE) - UTEX
14. Johhny Taylor ORLANDO (17th 1997 TENNESSEE-CHATTANOOGA) - STA. LUCIA
15. Mike McGee, LA LAKERS (19TH 1981 MICHIGAN) – STA. LUCIA
16. Rob Williams, DENVER (19TH 1982 HOUSTON) – TANDUAY
17. Billy Thompson, ATLANTA (19th 1986 LOUISVILLE) - SAN MIGUEL
18. Bernard Thompson, PORTLAND (19th 1984 FRESNO STATE) – SARSI
19. Kenny Payne, PHILADELPHIA (19th 1989 LOUISVILLE) – GINEBRA
20. Scott Burrell, CHARLOTTE (20th 1993 CONNECTICUT) - RED BULL
21. Kenny Fields, MILWAUKEE (21ST 1984 UCLA) – PRESTO
22. Anthony Jones, WASHINGTON (21ST 1986 UNLV) – PUREFOODS
23. Dickie Simpkins, CHICAGO (21ST 1994 PROVIDENCE) – ALASKA
24. Byron Irvin, PORTLAND (22ND 1989 MISSOURI) – PUREFOODS
25. Mitchell Wiggins, INDIANA (23RD 1983 FLORIDA STATE) – GORDON’S GIN
26. Jerome Lane, PHOENIX (23rd 1988 PITTSBURGH) – SHELL
27. Michael Young, BOSTON (24TH 1984 HOUSTON) – MANILA BEER, GREAT TASTE
28. Rodrick Rhodes, HOUSTON (24TH 1997 SOUTHERN CAL) – FEDEX
29. Sherrell Ford, SEATTLE (26th 1995 ILLINOIS-CHICAGO) - POP COLA
30. Byron Houston, CHICAGO (27TH 1992 OKLAHOMA STATE) – POP COLA
31. Kenny Battle, DETROIT (27TH 1989 ILLINOIS) – ALASKA
32. Mario Bennett, PHOENIX (27TH 1995 ARIZONA STATE) –SAN MIGUEL

I'm sure I may have missed a couple of names so kindly feel free to add to the list.
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Comments

  • the_BuGsthe_BuGs d ko hilig PExer
    uy long time Happy New Year...

    off topic heheehe

    parang nasabi mo na lahat ah :D
  • adonis827adonis827 Member PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    naks naman i wonder how you are able to gather those info. props to you dude
  • sean_taylorsean_taylor Member PExer
    Others that you missed:

    Dana Lewis - 1971 -12 - Great Taste
    Otto Moore - 1968 - 6 -Royal Tru Orange
    Glenn Mosley - 1977 -20 - Crispa
    James Hardy - 1978 -11 - Crispa
    Howard Carter - 1983 -15 - Shell
    Stewart Granger - 1983 - 24 - SHell

    George Trapp, played for Utex in 1979. His brother, John, played for Tanduay in 1975
  • nashtymikenashtymike Member PExer
    di ba kasama si chris king ng ginebra jan? hehe
    nagtatanong lang po..
  • galaxy_ramgalaxy_ram BANO S6 & S5 Champion PExer
    chris king was a second round pick by seattle in 1992.
  • Gospel of JudasGospel of Judas The Lost Gospel PExer
    si sesay saka si frahm?
  • liontamerliontamer Member PExer
    Ansu Sesay was the 1st pick in the 2nd round of the 1998 NBA Draft. He was picked by Dallas out of Ole Miss.

    On the other hand, Richie Frahm went undrafted in 2000 after his collegiate stint at Gonzaga. He made it to the NBA in 2003 when he was signed to a free agent contract by Seattle.
  • Rick Brunson from the Clips?

    Burrell also played for Chicago right?
  • irateluvmachineirateluvmachine el tambolero borracho PExer
    ^rick brunson wasn't a first-rounder...if memory serves me right, i don't think he was even drafted. scott burrell was charlotte's first-round pick in the 1993 draft, but despite putting his best numbers for the hornets during his first few years in the NBA, he's best-known as one of the championship era bulls' defensive stoppers off the bench...
  • roadwarriorroadwarrior Member PExer
    Kevin Porter?
  • liontamerliontamer Member PExer
    Kevin Porter?

    Believe it or not but for all his passing savvy, Kevin Porter was not taken in the 1st round but rather this St. Francis University star was taken in the 3rd round (39th) by the then BALTIMORE BULLETS in the 1972 draft. He played with TOYOTA during the early 80s here in the PBA.
  • Jay P. MercadoJay P. Mercado Moderator PEx Moderator
    Hi LT.

    I assume you got the information from inter-asia basket.com regarding these first round draftees that went on to play in the PBA. But just to give credit where true credit is due, the original source is at mypba.com/forum where the discussion mostly on imports came about.

    It was painstakingly collected, if I'm not mistaken by Retired Jordan Stopper (Sofiedogg at MYPBA) where he posted this at Inter-Asia Basket from the various posts put in by our friends from MYPBA. Some of them may have been taken as well from other foras, but a lot of these were generated from memory.

    Here's the link: http://mypba.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=3640
  • Jay P. MercadoJay P. Mercado Moderator PEx Moderator
    Sean Taylor,

    Yes, George Trapp is the brother of former Yco/Tanduay import John Q. Trapp, another burly figure who was equally slow and with limited interior moves. Can't forget how they twirled their moustache just like how Mexicans do theirs. John Trapp was the first import of Tanduay in the PBA playing alongside John Terry back in 1975.

    They're probably the first and only brother-import act in league history.

    Dana Lewis of Great Taste Coffee (1977) though may be heralded as the first NBA first rounder to ever play in the PBA. The 6'8 Lewis played alongside the very prolific Ni?o Samuel in the 1977 Open Conference. Alas, the two couldn't hold a candle against their import combo counterparts - in particular, Toyota's 6'8 Bruce King and 6'9 John Irving, Crispa's 6'10 Cyrus Mann and 6'6 Ricky Hicks, Tanduay's 6'10 Gene Moore and 6'8 Bernie Harris, and U/Tex's 6'8 Snake Jones and 6'2 Charlie Neal.
  • baludoybaludoy Nag me-meron PEx Expert 🎖️
    si snake jones kaya? magaling daw iyon sabi ng mga nakakatanda sa akin :D
  • Jay P. MercadoJay P. Mercado Moderator PEx Moderator
    KP (Kevin Porter) played in the Philippines twice. First, in an exhibition game by his Washington Bullets team versus the PBA All Stars back in 1979 (featuring players like imports Cyrus Mann, Larry McNeil, Dean Tolson, Larry Pounds and Glenn McDonald and locals Ramon Fernandez, Atoy Co, Lim Eng Beng, Rene Canent, Rudy Kutch, Jesse Sullano, Manny Paner and Yoyong Martirez. The Bullets demolished the All Stars 133-123. Porter topscored for the Bullets with 31 markers - a team that sent future Hall of Famers Wes Unseld and Elvin Hayes, Greg Ballard, and Dave Corzine among others. It was a game described by Bullets coach D*ck Motta as "a tall, good team will always beat a small, good team."

    Porter then went back to Manila in 1983 to suit up for the Toyota Super Corollas under Ed Ocampo. Alas, he was already in his early to mid-30's by then and was a shadow of his old self. He was immediately replaced after a couple of games by former U/Tex reinforcement Julius Wayne.
  • liontamerliontamer Member PExer
    Hi LT.

    I assume you got the information from inter-asia basket.com regarding these first round draftees that went on to play in the PBA. But just to give credit where true credit is due, the original source is at mypba.com/forum where the discussion mostly on imports came about.

    It was painstakingly collected, if I'm not mistaken by Retired Jordan Stopper (Sofiedogg at MYPBA) where he posted this at Inter-Asia Basket from the various posts put in by our friends from MYPBA. Some of them may have been taken as well from other foras, but a lot of these were generated from memory.

    Here's the link: http://mypba.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=3640

    Hi JPM, seriously I had no idea that such a list actually existed and I actually made the above list from scratch. What I did was simply to recall as many imports who played in the PBA and cross reference them with NBA Draft Net. This is why I said above that I'm sure I don't have a complete list yet and that any additional info is very much welcome.

    In fact, I am also working on a list of those who were taken in the 2nd round and these include the likes of Sylvester Gray, Tony White, Terrrance Bailey, Andrew Kennedy, Vincent Askew, Rodney Monroe, Tony Mack, Everette Stephens, Bob McCann and Larry Fogle to name a few.

    I don't mean to steal the thunder away from anyone or rain someone else's parade with this list. As I said earlier, the urge to put together this list just hit me and having watched the PBA all these years I did my best to recollect all the foreigners who showcased their skills over here.
  • Jay P. MercadoJay P. Mercado Moderator PEx Moderator
    No problem LT! Good list actually.

    Since Sean cited James Hardy (my third most favorite Crispa import after Mann and BRB) in his list, I believe the former Jazz player was drafted 11th overall. He was a heck of a player really when he was in Manila, dominating all the imports that crossed his path. He had an excellent midrange jumper, leaps high betraying his athleticism, and can block shots with gusto.

    His game disappeared though when the finals came in the Open Conference of 1981. I felt bad because when Hardy came in, I thought he was more of a better match than Andy Fields, the resident import of arch rival Toyota. I felt Hardy was the only import capable of meeting Fields head-on and it showed in the eliminations all the way to the semifinals.

    Alas, he was a shadow of his old self in the finals. Some theories came about here - he probably got affected by the calls in the finals as this was officiated by NBA top zebras Jim Capers and Lee Jones. Another was that Hardy received an offer from a NBA team and his mind was focused on greener pastures in his attempt to go back to the NBA. While he succeeded in cracking the NBA once more after his Crispa sojourn, he failed to give Crispa a title. Sad because in the history of the Crispa-Toyota rivalry, no Crispa team was able to beat a Fields-led team in the finals. Until BRB came into the scene in 1983.
  • Jay P. MercadoJay P. Mercado Moderator PEx Moderator
    You may also want to add San Miguel Beer import and former LA Laker mainstay Cedric Ceballos in your list of second round draftees.
  • liontamerliontamer Member PExer
    You may also want to add San Miguel Beer import and former LA Laker mainstay Cedric Ceballos in your list of second round draftees.

    He'll definitely be in that list as well as Purefood's alcoholic of an import Carey Scurry and Sta. Lucia's Nikita Wilson. Quick question JPM, did Ledell Eackles ever get to play here? I know Swift brought him in but am not sure if they ever did field him in a conference.
  • Jay P. MercadoJay P. Mercado Moderator PEx Moderator
    My best recollection was he did. I'm not sure what year, it may have been the same year when Ronnie Grandison (who played for Swift in 1995), Marques Bragg (1996 Swift import) or Norris Coleman (1997 import) played - meaning he got axed or replaced.

    Or he may have played in the 1992 season. I believe Bernard Thompson replaced him early in the Open Conference. What I do recall though is that he only played a few games for the Concepcion franchise, which makes recollection more difficult.

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