Work has fuelled me to detest .doc files and nowadays, it’s better for me to rest than to think. But there are times that I have fun and just go insane with content. Yes, I’m a bit of a procrastinator but when it comes to basketball stats and history, then allow me to lay it all out.

Anyway, I am a fan of the PBA Records and Oddities blog. I am so happy that there are blogs out there that do what the actual PBA blog cannot. I have been looking for pioneer stats for a while now – even if it’s incomplete. PBA RO has this blog in which he was able to screenshot the averages of the players from 1975 to 1981.

I still yearn for the numbers of Rudy Kutch, Larry Mumar, Jimmy Mariano, Estoy Estrada, and Freddie Webb. The same can be said for the complete stats of a lot of notable pioneer Hall of Famers.

Beggars can’t be choosers though.

In this list, I am going to rank the 20-best players that are still playing in the PBA during the 1981 PBA season. The scope and limitation of this list consist of players that have at least played 100 games. I am also going to base my rank on how I do my power rankings. Points have a multiplier of 1.25, rebounds have 1.5, assists have 2, steals have 2.5, and blocks have 2.75.




9.1ppg | 7.1rpg | 1.0apg | 0.9bpg | 101 games

Gotta admit – I don’t know who Eusebio “Bing” Del Rosario is. Upon research, I discovered that he is part of the PBA Select squad that faced the Washington Bullets in 1979. Del Rosario spent his entire career with Gilbey’s Gin and was able to play with Robert Jaworski and Francis Arnaiz when the two transferred to the eventual La Tondena franchise when Toyota disbanded.


9.8ppg | 3.0rpg | 3.1apg | 1.5spg | 371 games

Confession time. Bernie Fabiosa is ranked 22nd on this list. Bumped off in lieu of the Hall of Famer are Tony Torrente and Fritz Gaston. Bing Del Rosario also gets a shove down in favor of The Sultan of Swipe. Now I know it’s hard to fathom that Fabiosa is this deep on this list... but allow me to explain.

Throughout their PBA campaign, the Crispa Redmanizers were either champions or contenders. One reason behind their success is the fact that they had five MVP winners on their team. Now, add the fact that the Redmanizers also had a slew of awesome imports, it’s easy for Fabiosa to give up the ball and let his other teammates shine if this leads to a lot of championships.

And that's also the other reason why Fabiosa is ranked this high. He played 371 games. We have had a lot of MVP and Mythical First Team citations wherein games played a major part in the player's ranking. It's no different in the case of Bernie.


12.1ppg | 5.5rpg | 1.2apg | 0.7bpg | 138 games

It’s hard to imagine the San Miguel Beermen with an average lineup – especially since in the current PBA landscape, they are busy hoarding all the talent. Jess Migalbin is pretty much one of the more underrated names of his generation though. Enjoying his PBA years mostly with the Beermen, this is the part of his career wherein his numbers are peaking. Migalbin would finish his career with a 7.5ppg average though – which is both puzzling and unfortunate considering that he once had a 12.1ppg career average.


9.3ppg | 8.1rpg | 1.5apg | 0.7spg | 119 games

For a time, Glenn Capacio’s older brother was a double-double powerhouse for Tanduay Rhum. I don’t know what happened but the late PBA governor would finish his career with 5.9ppg and 5.5rpg so I guess injuries played a part? This sample size though is anything but bad considering that most centers from that era are mostly import stoppers. I guess the most obvious reason is that he’s already transitioning to a bench role as evident by the various hats he put on as part of the Purefoods franchise.


9.7ppg | 6.5rpg | 1.1apg | 1.1bpg | 253 games

Abe King is another player whose numbers aren’t as high because he is playing alongside a lot of greats. This fact is amazing – especially since King once scored 60 points in the middle of this timeline. I don’t know if his Chairman of the Board moniker has stuck on him at this point but King has to contend with the fact that he is playing with a force in Ramon Fernandez, a triple-double magnet in Robert Jaworski, and Toyota’s import of the conference. King would become an above-average scorer after his Toyota stint.


11.8ppg | 6.7rpg | 1.2apg | 0.8bpg | 374 games

It’s funny to see The Pride of Camiguin deep in the rankings – considering that he’s pretty a constant on a lot of all-time records lists. As with the Fabiosa mention, Crispa just had a lot of options. In some ways, Guidaben could pretty much be the Poch Juinio of his grand slam squad. Now, this is not a knock on Guidaben or Juinio... but rather based on the four MVPs in Baby Dalupan’s squad. Guidaben is one of two pioneer MVPs to win the award after the 1981 PBA season (winning his first MVP award two seasons after). Anyway, the other pioneer MVP is going to surprise you.


11.3ppg | 3.0rpg | 4.2apg | 1.3spg | 230 games

One of the reasons why I made this blog is for me to identify the biggest names of that period. And while it sucks that I missed out on a lot of players that I want to know more like Rudy Kutch, Estoy Estrada, Larry Mumar, Freddie Webb, Ompong Segura, and others (I still want their season-by-season numbers), one name I’m happy that’s here is Jesse Sullano. Known for being a scorer and an efficient playmaker, Sullano is one of those players that did a lot of damage as a player that’s not from Crispa, Toyota, or U/Tex.


7.7ppg | 3.8rpg | 4.1apg | 2.3spg | 265 games

Here’s one person I felt that should have been part of the 25 Greatest Players list. In fact, Vic Sotto’s former sidekick was part of the ten best players list of the league’s first decade. If I would compare Yoyong Martirez to an NBA player, he’s probably either Hal Greer or Lenny Wilkens in the sense that he had all the tools to succeed but unfortunately, he’s not part of either Toyota or Crispa. Being a part of those two squads would have given him at least a Mythical First Team or more than two championships. Anyway, the original #14 of San Miguel Beer at this point is the undisputed steals leader of the league with 611 swipes – despite having a 106-game handicap over Bernie Fabiosa.


15.7ppg | 4.5rpg | 1.7apg | 0.5spg | 177 games

One of the league’s top non-pioneers during the 80s, the 1978 PBA Rookie of the Year started his career with Tanduay Rhum and basically became the team’s resident scoring machine. He played in a time when the pioneers have still lorded the court but Manansala just wants none of it. With that said though, the aforementioned Crispa and Toyota rivalry made the other PBA teams bit players to league title history. This would all change when Manansala became part of the Great Taste Coffee Makers – winners of two consecutive almost-grand slams and arguably the most successful PBA franchise of the mid-80s.


14.6ppg | 4.9rpg | 2.2apg | 0.7spg | 0.7bpg | 158 games

I guess a name that needs to be cited in the league’s 50 Greatest Players list other than Danny Seigle, Abe King, and Olsen Racela is Arnie Tuadles. Seriously, I don’t know his real position. As a kid of the 90s, I saw the tail end of his career when he played power forward. Then I read articles from the 70s and 80s and he’s basically a small forward that can also act as a shooting guard. Multi-talented with a lot of tricks, Arnie Tuadles despite these numbers is playing restricted basketball no thanks to Toyota’s super roster. In a few seasons, Tuadles would realize his potential as a bonafide star... although it doesn’t help his cause that he took his talents to a lot of teams.