PBA to cite 40 stars, 5 scribes
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - December 4, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the PBA will honor the league’s 40 greatest players and five sportswriters in a tribute program at the Resorts World Manila in April next year. PBA commissioner Chito Salud disclosed the “unveiling” during the deliberations to select the 40 stars at the league office in Libis last Monday.

Salud attended the deliberations with media bureau chief Willie Marcial and operations director Rickie Santos. The seven-man body formed to select the 40 players was headed by chairman Freddie Webb with Robert Jaworski, PBA chairman Patrick Gregorio, PBA vice chairman Robert Non, Chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusement and Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Cavite, PBA press corps president Barry Pascua and this writer as members.

It was agreed by the body that a nominee to the list of 40 must have played at least five seasons in the PBA, subject to exceptions under extraordinary circumstances. Webb, who played in the PBA from 1976 to 1978, said nominees not only had to be great but also good, adding that character was an encompassing element.

Seeded in the list of 40 were the 25 greatest players previously chosen by the league – Johnny Abarrientos, Bogs Adornado, Ato Agustin, Francis Arnaiz, Ricardo Brown, Allan Caidic, Hector Calma, Philip Cezar, Atoy Co, Jerry Codinera, Kenneth Duremdes, Bernie Fabiosa, Ramon Fernandez, Danny Florencio, Abet Guidaben, Freddie Hubalde, Jaworski, Jojo Lastimosa, Lim Eng Beng, Samboy Lim, Ronnie Magsanoc, Vergel Meneses, Manny Paner, Benjie Paras and Alvin Patrimonio. The selection was limited to local or Fil-foreign players and excluded imports.

With 15 slots to fill, the body named the 10 players who earned MVP honors since the selection of the 25 as a first step. They were Danny Ildefonso, Willie Miller, Asi Taulava, Eric Menk, James Yap, Kelly Williams, Jay-Jay Helterbrand, Jimmy Alapag, Mark Caguioa and Arwind Santos. The only MVP excluded from nomination was JunMar Fajardo who is only in his third pro season. That left only five vacancies.

Webb opened the floor for nominations and 21 players were considered, namely, Abe King, Marlou Aquino, L. A. Tenorio, Gary David, Dennis Espino, Jeff Cariaso, Danny Seigle, Franz Pumaren, Olsen Racela, Sonny Thoss, Marc Pingris, Chito Loyzaga, Ranidel de Ocampo, Dondon Hontiveros, Bal David, Kerby Raymundo, Noli Locsin, Jayson Castro, Jimmy Mariano, Jun Papa and Terry Saldana.

Webb then called for a secret ballot. Castro and Pingris topped the voting with six each. Loyzaga was next with five and Raymundo made it with four. Tied with three votes apiece were King, Aquino, Gary David and Seigle. Cariaso was the only other player to garner votes with two. A separate poll was made to pick from King, Aquino, David and Seigle to break the deadlock. Aquino took three votes, Seigle two and King and David one each. So it was decided that Aquino, Castro, Pingris, Loyzaga and Raymundo will fill the last five slots in the list of 40.

The five sportswriters to be cited are Ding Marcelo of the Bulletin, Jun Engracia and Ernie Gonzales of the Inquirer, SCOOP president Eddie Alinea and Lito Tacujan of The Philippine Star. Salud said the five covered the PBA beat as reporters in the inaugural 1975 season and deserve to be recognized for their key role in providing media mileage during the pioneer years.

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