PBA’s Top 40
Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - December 12, 2014 - 12:00am

For forty years, Asia’s first play-for-pay basketball league had been entertaining fans with our very distinct brand of play.  There were good times and bad times but the league survived.  Fifteen years ago it clelebrated 25 years of existence honoring 25 players with exceptional basketball skills.  I agreed with those named on the top 25.

This year, the league will add 15 more players to the 25 to be among the league’s best forty.  PBA legends and former senators Freddie Webb and Sonny Jaworski head the selection committee with PBA top brass Patrick Gregorio and Robert Non, sports journalists Joaquin Henson and Barry Pascua and Congressman Elpidio Barzaga.  The former six have the right pedigree and with all due respect to Congressman Barzaga, I’m not familiar with his basketball knowhow.

They came up with a list and it sure was not well received by basketball purists.  Thirteen  active and mostly younger players were on it with their qualifications as being former MVPs.  Some of those mentioned are not exactly having MVP-like performances during the current conference.  I won’t be mentioning their names as it would be an insult to former PBA greats, in my own opinion, not included on the list.

In fairness to those on the controversial list, their basketball skills are without question, but there are far more senior athletes deserving of the honor.  Personally, to be inducted or enshrined into greatness, you either are retired from active competition or permanently and stiffly retired, as in dead.

Who would you like to join Johnny Abarientos, Ato Agustin, Francis Arnaiz, Ricky Brown, Allan Caidic, Hector Calma, Philip Cezar, Atoy Co, Jerry Codinera, Kenneth Duremdes, Bernie Fabiosa, Mon Fernandez, Danny Florencio, Abet Guidaben, Freddie Hubalde, Robert Jaowrski, Jojo Lastimosa, Lim Eng Beng, Samboy Lim, Ronnie Magsanoc, Vergel Meneses, Manny Paner, Alvin Patrimonio and Benjie Paras on the PBA’s top 40?

I’m old school and I’ve picked basketballers where during their time, they were very happy already with a monthly salary of P10,000 and a then new contract of P80,000 a month given to someone on the top 25 list was considered scandalous.

Jake Rojas, Larry Mumar, Yoyong Martires are Cebuanos who should be on the list.  The same goes to Tembong Melencio, Jimmy Mariano and Adriano “Jun” Papa.  These guys, at some point in their basketball careers had represented the country in international competitions and its just fitting for them to be in the elite list.

Manny Victorino was the league’s third best center behind Mon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben during their time.  Manny V must be on this list together with another center of attraction, Marlou Aquino.  To set records straight, Marlou is not related to the present Malacañang resident.

There was the era of Mr. Excitement, as in Paul Alvarez.  Long before Vince Carter wore his first Nike Shox, Alvarez was skying and dunking over the opposition.  Abe King, Chito Loyzaga and Nelson Asaytono can hold their own even against imports.  The league already had their own bull in Asaytono prior to Red Bull’s entry.  King and Loyzaga were defensive specialists.

My last three will be posthumous inclusions.  Cebuanos Alfie Almario and Arnie Tuadles were pure shooters, with Tuadles the more creative type.  My last on the list will be Big Boy Reynoso.  Before the advent of bruisers, enforcers or whatever you call wide bodied bangers, Reynoso was it.  Together with Jaworski, they were given lifetime bans from playing basketball for defensive tactics similar to UFC.  The ban was lifted by then president Marcos.

Thirteen of these athletes probably were not chosen due to some other factors but if I could just have my way, and insist on these 15 players, these will complete the PBA’s top 40.  The last time I checked, we’re still a free country and I’m open for discussions, if you wish.

Just a thought.  Since Marcus Douthit and Andre Blatche are already Filipinos thru an act of law, it would be nice if Kia and Blackwater can have them on their respective rosters as locals.  This will be more legit than during the time when the league had dubious players masquerading as Filipino half-breeds, giving rise to the term Fil-shams.  Could this be possible?

***

Because of really bad traffic, I never dream of going to Manila.  Bad dreams are now a reality that from where we live, it now takes almost two hours to complete an 18-kilometer trip to the city because good roads are being destroyed only to be rebuilt again.  It is already a struggle going to the city.  The agencies concerned are so inconsiderate and insensitive that they are already immune to complaints.  Signs of progress or incompetence?   Welcome to Cebu.

 

ABE KING ABET GUIDABEN ALLAN CAIDIC ALVIN PATRIMONIO AND BENJIE PARAS ATO AGUSTIN ATOY CO BASKETBALL BERNIE FABIOSA LIST
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