It's a tougher road, but it's not the end.
Former PBA stars Rico Maierhofer and Jayjay Helterbrand admitted they were surprised when their teammate, Jaymar 'Waray' Gimpayan, was not selected in the PBA Season 48 Rookie Draft last Sunday.
Maierhofer, now an assistant coach for the Imus SV Squad, had dubbed Gimpayan as a "double-double machine" for his performance in the MPBL.
"Twenty rebounds, twenty points kine-create niya sa team natin, pero 'di siya na-pick," Maierhofer lamented in a PBA Motoclub Team Amazing vlog.
"Nagulat talaga kami. 'Di ko alam sa PBA teams kung nagsa-scout sila, nothing against PBA teams. Nagulat kami walang kumuha kay Jaymar. Siya 'yung best player pa namin. Teammate sina [Marc] Pingris, Jayjay Helterbrand, Carlo Lastimosa, at 'di siya nakuha. Bakit?" Maierhofer added.
"Grabe motor nito, 'di napapagod," Helterbrand chimed in.
The Laoang, Northern Samar native even had the glowing endorsement of former Rain or Shine Elasto Painters coach Chris Gavina. Both worked together as part of the Valenzuela Classic squad in the MPBL.
"If PBA teams are looking for a Calvin Abueva-type player and elite rebounder, I would highly suggest taking a close look at Waray Gimpayan in this draft. He might not have the local exposure like some of these NCAA and UAAP bigs but I guarantee he has a better motor than them," Gavina had tweeted.
The group also mentioned Richard Velchez, who was part of the Mav's Phenomenal Basketball group, but also went undrafted.
"'Yan mga Dennis Rodman na hinahanap ng teams, yung mga role player na kayang makipag-basagan, makakakuha ng rebound," Maierhofer added.
"Meron pa, Kyt Jimenez. Na-draft na pero last place."
Jimenez, a fan favorite, was selected by the San Miguel Beermen in the ninth round as the 76th out of 79 overall draft picks.
The PBA All-Stars though said this is not the end for these players, especially for the 28-year-old Gimpay.
"'Di pa huli ang lahat, Waray," Maierhofer advised, waving to Jerwin Gaco, who went undrafted in 2005 and only joined the PBA after four years. He went on to be part of the B-Meg Llamados squad, now known as the Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots, and eventually became a five-time PBA champion.
Maierhofer also nodded to Peter June Simon, who was with the group in their New Zealand-Australia trip. Simon was selected 43rd overall in the fifth round of the 2001 draft and was hailed as a super sub for the Magnolia squad, even earning the nickname "Scoring Apostle." He became an eight-time PBA champion.
"Pwede ka mag-try sa teams na mag-i-invite sa iyo para ma-prove 'yung sarili mo," Gaco noted, as PBA teams might realize his worth. "'Uy, parang masipag na player 'to."
They also gave words of wisdom to Jimenez, noting that it was "very rare" for players who got drafted late to get a contract.
"Eto challenge namin sa'yo Kyt, prove them wrong," Maierhofer said. "So meron kang two weeks."