The Glorious Years of Philippine Basketball Association

Today’s Philippine Basketball Association weirds me out. I mean why in hell are the surnames Washington, Williams, Norwood and Miller considered Filipino?

Okay, I might be too harsh on that for *some* of the “Fil-Ams” really have some Pinoy blood in them.

Now I couldn’t help but reminisce what I consider the glory days of Philippine basketball. The days wherein Bal David, Pido Jarencio and Allen Caidic were the heroes of Ginebra and Nelson Asaytono and Mike Mustre were the resident protagonists.

An addition to the excitement would be the clash between imports Shaun Chambers and Lamonth Strothers. The memory of my failed imitation of Lamonth’s helicpoter lay up is still vivid. And my admiration of Freddie Abuda’s zip lock defense still influences me now.

Here are more of the old-school PBA players who I wish never grew old.

Bal David

Bal Viray David Jr (born August 23, 1972) is a retired professional basketball player in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). He played as point guard for the Barangay Ginebra Kings. He is currently head coach of Fern-C in the Philippine Basketball League (PBL).—

Bal David will forever be remembered as one of the Barangay Ginbera greats due to his basketball smarts and courtesy of that monumental half court heave against the San Miguel Beermen in one All Filipino Cup an infinity ago.

Nelson Asaytono

Nelson Asaytono (born January 25, 1967) is a retired professional basketball player of the Philippine Basketball Association, also known as “The Bull” for his monster dunks.[citation needed] He played for 5 teams (Purefoods, Swift, San Miguel, Pop Cola and Red Bull) in the PBA.

I personally hate this Asaytono guy. He has been the cause of too many injuries and on-court mishaps to his opponents including the life threatening sahod to Allan Caidic.

A kontabida, per se.

I do hope he’s not that dirty/magulang in real life though.

Freddie Abuda

Freddie Abuda (b. October 8, 1969, in Lawaan, Eastern Samar) is a former Philippine Basketball Association player. He was drafted by Purefoods, then known Coney Island Ice Cream, in the 2nd round as the 10th overall pick. Abuda played eleven seasons in the PBA, most of them with the San Miguel Beermen.–

Freddie Abuda is best known for his defense. He only plays quality time and at most times is delegated to defend the best player from the opposing team.

Vince Hizon

Hizon spent most of his 11 year pro career for the Ginebra (also known as Gordon’s Gin or Ginebra Na!) franchise in the Philippine Basketball Association. He won 1 PBL title, 4 PBA titles, one SouthEast Asian Games gold medal and 1 USBL championship throughout the course of his stellar career. He was even named as part of the PBA’s Mythical 5 selection in 1997. Hizon was known for his clutch three point shooting and his slashing drives to the basket.—wikipedia

Vince “The Prince” Hizon broke many hearts when he proposed to his now wife, Patricia Bermudez- Hizon, at one PBA half time break, live on national TV, replete with microphones, kneeling and all that romantic stuff.

He might be speaking in a foreign language alright, but his *masa* appeal could readily make up for it. Indeed, he has been loved by fans, basketball enthusiasts or not.

Benjie Paras

Venancio Johnson Paras, Jr. (born October 2, 1968), better known as Benjie Paras, is a Filipino professional basketball player of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) turned actor. He is the only PBA player to win both Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors, in a single season (1989). As its star center, Paras led the Shell Turbo Chargers to championship titles.

Benjie now appears as an actor on different shows of GMA 7. He also starred and had a stellar performance at one 90s flick entitled Dunkin Donato.

Allan Caidic

Alan Vito Flores Caidic (born June 15, 1963, Pasig City, Philippines) is a retired professional basketball player from the Philippines and is currently an assistant coach of the Barangay Ginebra Kings in the PBA. He is considered by many to be the greatest shooter the country has ever produced, thus, earning the moniker the “Triggerman” .—

Mr Caidic has been known for his clutch three point streaks. He is also the only lefty, I think, that is almost a no- brainer from beyond the three point arch. The closest lefty that I could think of is Willie Miller.

Johnny Abbarientos

Johnny Abarrientos (born July 17, 1970) is a retired Filipino professional basketball player in the Philippine Basketball Association. He is also a many-time member of the Philippine National team, as well as a former 1996 PBA MVP, becoming the shortest player to win the said award.

He is known by many as The Flying A when he started playing for the Alaska Milkmen in 1993.—

Any Filipino basketball fan who does not know how great and how skillful Johnny A. is, is a phony.

Poch Juinio

The former 6’5″ standout of the UP Fighting Maroons was drafted 5th overall by the Alaska Milkmen in 1994. He had a decent beginning in his career but his moment came in 1996 when was awarded as the Most Improved Player of the Season. He was a key part of the 1996 Grand Slam Team of the Milkmen. In 2000, he was named as the Finals MVP of the 2000 PBA All-Filipino Cup. From 2001 to 2006, he played for the Pop Cola Panthers, Coca-Cola Tigers and the Talk ‘N Text Phone Pals before returning to Alaska in the 2006-07 PBA season where we won another championship in 2007. He retired after the 2007-08 Season.—

Bong Hawkins/ Jojo Lastimosa, Poch Juinio/ Kenneth Duremdes and Johnny Abbarientos/ Jeffry Cariaso gave their opponents a hard time for Tim Cone’s triangle offense still proves mighty up to this day.

Alvin Patrimonio

Alvin Vergara Patrimonio (born November 17, 1966), nicknamed “The Captain” and “Captain Lionheart” is a retired Filipino professional basketball player from the Philippine Basketball Association and is the current team manager of his former team, the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants.

Patrimonio holds several PBA records including most consecutive games played and most PBA Most Valuable Player awards , tied with Ramon Fernandez). He is also the second player after Bogs Adornado to win back-to-back MVP awards in 1993 and 1994, and also the second player to win three Best Player of the Conference award after Vergel Meneses. He also shares the distinction of having played the most Asian Games with 1990 PBA MVP Allan Caidic.

He played his entire career with the Purefoods TJ Hotdogs and won several championships, mostly in the All-Filipino Cup. He also played for the Philippine national team many times including the 1998 Philippine Centennial Team.

The life and career of Alvin Patrimonio, thanks to his good looks and profound in-court leadership, has been well documented and is all over the internet including his affair with the presidential sister.


I know, I know, I am not that old to witness the greats that sport skimpy shorts.

The Jaworskis, the Hernandezes and the Calmas are way beyond my time.

I am not that old, mind you. 🙂


With the abundance of Fil-Ams, notoriously called PhilShams, I know I am not the only one who is disappointed on what the only professional basketball league in the Philippines has become.

With teams having at least two foreigners, the PBA, I believe, is fast becoming a league of imports.

The reduction of fast tempoed, run and gun games and the surfacing of half-court, slowed down strategies is indeed not my brand of samalamig.

And I would cry a happy sago if full blooded Filipinos would again dominate the proverbial wooden court.

images from:

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