PBA Hall of Fame
- Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran () - March 16, 2005 - 12:00am
The Philippine Basketball Association is launching the PBA Hall of Fame in an extravagant affair celebrating the league’s 30th anniversary on April 9 at the Araneta Coliseum.

Thirty different PBA personalities will compose the initial batch of honorees which is likely to be led by legendary players Robert Jaworski and Ramon Fernandez, coaches Baby Dalupan, Tommy Manotoc and Dante Silverio, league leaders Leo Prieto, Rudy Salud and Jun Bernardino, and trail-blazing team owners Danny Floro, Manolo Elizalde and Emerson Coseteng.

Two different committees have been put up by PBA commissioner Noli Eala to make the nominations and selection of the initial batch of 30 honorees to the Hall of Fame.

Tasked to make the nominations was the Selection Committee which has named 70 nominees in their first meeting Monday afternoon.

Making up the committee are PBA officials Willie Marcial, Rickie Santos, Perry Martinez and Jude Turcuato, former coaches Manotoc and Freddie Webb, ex-player Padim Israel and media people Lito Tacujan and Quinito Henson of The STAR, Al Mendoza, Eddie Alinea, Tito Talao, Andy Jao, Emy Arcilla and Ronnie Nathaniels.

After the list of the nominees is finalized, the roster will be thoroughly evaluated for the final selection by the Honors Committee composed of Eala, chairman Buddy Encarnado, vice chairman Ely Capacio, Alaska alternate governor Joaqui Trillo, Bernardino, ex-player Francis Arnaiz and media people Jimmy Cantor, Ding Marcelo, Bobong Velez and Dick Ildefonso.

Players must have retired from the game at least the last five years to be eligible for the prestigious award. Officials, coaches and TV personalities,meanwhile, must have worked at least five seasons to be eligible. Sportswriters are candidates if they have covered the PBA beat for no less than 10 seasons.

Aside from Jaworski and Fernandez, the other players in strong contention for the award are former Crispa stars Atoy Co, Bogs Adornado, Philip Cezar, Freddie Hubalde, Abet Guidaben and Bernie Fabiosa, and fellow old stars Arnaiz, Manny Paner, Lim Eng Beng and Danny Florencio.

Nominated from the coaches rank are Dalupan, Manotoc, Silverio, Norman Black, Tim Cone, Ron Jacobs and Turo Valenzona.

The April 9 anniversary celebration will be a homecoming of sort for all the PBA players and officials — past and present — not unlike the big bash dished out for the league’s silver anniversary in 2000 where the PBA named its 25 greatest players.

All the 25 players are expected to make the Hall of Fame in the future.

Various activities and promotions have been lined up in an effort to drum up interest in the league’s three decades of service as the country’s prime sports entertainment vehicle.

"We enjoin the fans, who had been the very reason for the PBA’s success, to celebrate with us the league’s 30 years of existence," said Eala.

Kicking off the countdown is the holding of a PBA trivia contest to be played in print, radio and TV while personal appearances on TV shows and mall tours by star players have been scheduled to personally invite the public to watch the show.

Floats around the venue and life-sized images and murals of PBA stars in action will also be on display in the Big Dome.

Fans get to interact with their past and present idols through the various booths — food and beverages, team gimmicks — to be put up around the Araneta premises.

Other come-ons include Half Court, where fans engage former players and the like to games and shootouts; Red Carpet, an autograph signing booth of PBA stars; Reunion Photo Ops, area for group picture taking; and Fan Photo Booth, a stand for fans who wants to get their photos printed on the spot.

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