In the footsteps of celebrated Fil-foreign basketball luminaries who graced the Philippine hardwood, Stephen Holt, a 31-year-old standout from Saint Mary’s College of California, etched his name in PBA history as the top pick in the Season 48 Rookie Draft.
With a professional basketball journey spanning the United States, Europe, and Australia, Holt is poised to make his mark in the local pro league as the first overall selection by the Terrafirma Dyip.
Holt, who tuned into the draft proceedings from his residence in Portland, Oregon, watched with bated breath as Terrafirma guard Juami Tiongson unveiled his name as the Dyip’s top choice at the PBA Season 48 Draft Rites held at the Market! Market! Activity Center in Taguig on Sunday.
Speaking via video interview, the 6-foot-4 guard shared his eagerness to contribute on both ends of the court, emphasizing his reputation as a sharpshooter. “I’m a two-way player and I’m committed to play both offensively and defensively. I’m known as a shooter, and I will try to make an impact,” Holt remarked.
Holt’s aspiration to play in the PBA became a reality after acquiring Philippine citizenship earlier this year, adding his name to the list of Terrafirma’s top selections, including CJ Perez in 2018, Roosevelt Adams in 2019, and Joshua Munzon in 2021.
The draft’s first round saw a dominance of towering Fil-foreign prospects, with Blackwater selecting Christian David at No. 2, Rain or Shine picking Luis Villegas and Keith Datu Jr. at No. 3 and No. 4, NorthPort choosing Zavier Lucero at No. 5, Phoenix Super LPG opting for Ken Tuffin at No. 6, NLEX drafting Richard Thomas Rodger at No. 7, Meralco turning to Brandon Bates at No. 8, and Converge selecting Schonny Winston at No. 9.
Breaking the trend, BJ Andrade, a homegrown talent from Ateneo, became the first local player chosen in the draft, securing the No. 10 pick from Converge.
NorthPort continued to bolster its lineup with the selection of Cade Flores of Arellano at No. 11, while Terrafirma wrapped up the first round by drafting Taylor Miller of Westminster University at No. 12.
Among the standout picks of the first round were Richard Thomas Rodger at No. 7 and Taylor Miller at No. 12, surprising many observers with their placements.
Pre-draft expectations held true for Christian David, Luis Villegas, Keith Datu, Zavier Lucero, and Ken Tuffin, all of whom were projected to be top picks based on their physical attributes, skills, and strong reputations.
“I’ll do my best to perform well,” expressed David, a 6-foot-6 Canadian-born player with experience at Butler University in college basketball.
Rain or Shine secured a formidable frontcourt with the acquisition of the 6-foot-7 Villegas and the 6-foot-8 Datu, affectionately referred to as their Twin Towers.
NorthPort and Phoenix added height to their rosters with the selections of the 6-foot-6 Lucero and 6-foot-4 Tuffin, respectively, promising an exciting Season 48 for PBA fans.