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Henry Liao

Fallen PBA SAF 12 Heroes

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So it has come to pass that the Philippine Basketball Association has come up with its official list of the 40 greatest players in its history as part of the pro league’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

A highly-competent seven-man selection committee voted to name the list of the 40 all-time greats, which is bannered by the original 25 Greatest Players awardees, namely, 1-Ramon Fernandez, 2-Alvin Patrimonio, 3-William (Bogs) Adornado, 4-Fortunato (Atoy) Co Jr., 5-Robert (Sonny) Jaworski, 6-Alberto (Abet) Guidaben, 7-Venacio (Benjie) Paras, 8-Alfredo (Freddie) Hubalde,9-Philip Cezar, 10-Ricardo (Ricky) Brown, 11-Jerry Codinera, 12-Kenneth Duremdes, 13-Bernard (Bernie) Fabiosa, 14-Danny Florencio, 15-Isabelo (Jojo) Lastimosa, 16-Lim Eng Beng, 17-Avelino (Samboy) Lim Jr., 18-Ronald (Ronnie) Magsanoc, 19-Vergel Meneses, 20-Manuel (Manny) Paner, 21-Johnny Abarrientos, 22-Renato (Ato) Agustin, 23-Francis Arnaiz, 24-Hector Calma and 25-Allan Caidic

The new members are 10 automatic selections Pauliasi (Asi) Taulava, Eric Menk, Kelly Williams, Anthony Jason (Jayjay) Helterbrand, Jimmy Alapag, Mark Caguioa, James Yap, Danilo (Danny) Ildefonso, Willie Miller and Arwind Santos – thanks to the committee’s decision to include automatically former league Most Valuable Player awardees – and five at-large picks, namely, Marlou Aquino, Joaquin (Chito) Loyzaga, Kerby Raymundo, Jean Marc Pingris and Jayson Castro.

The list is a mixture of can’t-miss choices (such as Fernandez, Patrimonio, Co, Jaworski and Paras), borderline picks (better not to be named) and controversial, if not undeserving, selections (again, better not to be named).

Every hoops junkie has his opinion of the PBA’s all-time greatest list. I have come up with my own list and this does not include at least six players that were mentioned in the official PBA charts. Of course, my own choices are subject to debate.

In the end, we can always agree to disagree.

However, this 20 percent-discount-on-any-item pensioner/aging hoops junkie is suggesting that the PBA should tweak the criteria for selection once the PBA is again called upon to produce its 50 greatest athletes a decade from now (2025) during its golden anniversary.

Among them:

+ The selection process must be democratize and not left just to seven or eight people who may not have yet been born when the PBA first saw the light of day. Increase the number of the selection panel to 100, maybe even 200, with each voter obligated to complete a five-man ticket and points – 10 for a first-place vote, seven for second place, five for third place, three for fourth place and one for fifth place – awarded depending on the ranking of their choices.

The 50 players that garnered the most number of points thus will be named to the all-time greatest list and probably there would be less controversy since the selection process is much more widespread.

+ Stock up the selection panel with as many as 100 members – or even more – from a cross-section of the PBA Nation.

Include some long-time PBA fans (never underestimate their value – where would be the PBA today without them?), legendary PBA players (perhaps five from the 1975-85 era, five from 1986-95, another five from 1996-2015 and five more from 2016-2025 with the players not allowed to vote for themselves), long-time PBA media practitioners (print, radio and television), veteran PBA production/statistical staff, long-time team personnel (who have been there since 1975) and others.

No one sector has a monopoly of basketball intelligence.

+ Discard the “automatic” selection rule for former MVPs. It must be on case-to-case basis. A few MVPs on the current list are simply one-hit wonders who did not even help their team to a title during their MVP year. By the way, if an MVP was an automatic selection on the 40th Anniversary list, why was June Mar Fajardo left out? Fajardo was the MVP in 2013-14 and declared as such several months before the seven-man selection panel announced the results of the voting in December 2014.

+ Longevity must be taken into account. Perhaps only players who have had at least eight years of experience should be considered for selection. A cager must prove his worth over a period of time before greatness can be considered.

For whatever its worth, here is this Hoopster’s Fallen PBA SAF (Snubbed All-time Favorite) 12 Heroes.

Hereunder are their names and career statistics. Okay, it’s not a be-all-end-all yardstick, but statistics are among the concrete or tangible measurements of a athlete’s greatness (winning championships is another).

1-Nelson (The Bull) Asaytono – 17 years, 1989-2006, 820 games, 15.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg.
2-Dennis Espino – 16 years, 1995-2011, 669 games, 13.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg.
3-Manuel Victorino – 15 years, 1981-94/1996, 713 games, 13.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg.
4-Abe King Jr. – 18 years, 1977-94, 782 games, 10.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg.
5-Rodericko (Olsen) Racela – 18 years, 1993-2011, 925 games, 7.8 ppg, 3.3 apg.
6-Rene (Bong) Hawkins Jr. – 14 years, 1991-2001/2003-06, 613 games, 13.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg.
7-Danny Seigle – 15th year (still active), 1999-2002/2004-15, 505 games-plus, 16.1 ppg-plus, 5.9 rpg-plus.
8-Donaldo (Dondon) Hontiveros – 15th year (still active), 2000-15, 609 games-plus, 11.2 ppg-plus, 3.8 rpg-plus.
9-Paul (Bong) Alvarez – 12 years, 1989-98/2002/2004-05, 403 games, 16.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.2 apg.
10-Ernesto (Estoy) Estrada – 8 years, 1975-82, 289 games, 19.6 ppg.
11-Arnulfo (Arni ) Tuadles (+) – 14 years, 1979-92, 692 games, 13.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg.
12-Luis Manuel (Noli) Locsin – 11 years, 1994-2005, 413 games, 11.3 ppg, 6.

Updated 04-12-2015 at 02:07 AM by gameface_one (Correction)

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  1. Emon74's Avatar
    For the next 10 years in the PBA's 50 greatest players, I hope they will not include MVPs starting the 2020 era, my belief now is only three out of your 12 listings will probably make it, Abe King, Nelson Asaytono and Danny Seigle will finally be given the credit they deserve because of the public outcry on the recent selection, any chances of Racela, Hawkins and the late Arnie Tuadles being chosen will remain a wishful thinking for old-school PBA fans.

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