SAN MIGUEL ORIGINAL DEATH FIVE TAKES A BACKSEAT TO SAN MIGUEL'S NEW DEATH FIVE... BACK THEN!





First blogged on August 4, 2010


 


In 2002, Olsen Racela was the top point guard in the country. There is a justifiable reason why Chito Loyzaga’s Dynamite moniker was given to Danny Seigle.


And what about that NU kid who made the best of a career that at that time, should have been the ideal one for Romel Adducul?


This is the blog in which I will rant the hell out about San Miguel's crazy scheme to replace their legends just because they have grown tired of them.



 





It must be hard for Danny Ildefonso, Danny Seigle, and Olsen Racela to watch Arwind Santos, Jay Washington, and Alex Cabagnot take over their spots. Dorian Pena might see action sometimes but he wasn’t really that much of a threat offensively. Especially during the reinforced conferences, sticking Pena and Mick Pennisi on that matter, to the bench is easy.


Among the stars of the late 90s and the early 2000s, Dondon Hontiveros is the only player left starting for the San Miguel Beermen, and the fact that the Beermen has acquired Joseph Yeo means that his starting job is also in jeopardy.


And yet, I don’t blame these guys for sticking with the squad.


In two or three years, Olsen Racela will probably be an assistant coach for the Beermen. Danny Ildefonso is the current endorser of B-Meg and he owns a piggery. Danny Seigle, although his personal life might not be public, you can bet that he has gathered enough money from SMC to make his post-basketball career happy and worry-free. This is the same reason why there are a lot of top players that destroyed their chances to have better scoring averages, more minutes, and better recognition just to stick with the Beermen.


Do you know that a typical office job doesn’t do shit with an SMC janitor in terms of benefits and compensation?


Growing old as a Beermen is a very wise way to end your basketball career!


Besides, if they need to play, they can always join Samboy Lim, Allan Caidic, Hector Calma, and the rest of the SMC All-Stars in their quest to wow crowds of all ages inside the archipelago.


But still, you have to know that these guys can still go when they need to go. Ildefonso, Seigle, Racela, Pena, and Hontiveros were the players that led the Beermen back to the top during the time the PBA had the MBA breathing on its back.


If you noticed how overloaded with talent this team has become, do you remember when Nelson Asaytono (traded for Ato Agustin), Olsen Racela (part of the Bong Ravena trade), Freddie Abuda (part of the Bong Ravena trade), Mike Mustre, and the late Gido Babilonia (transferee from Pepsi Mega) was the starting five of San Miguel? This wasn’t exactly a powerhouse team but this team managed to score wins as a defense-oriented squad under Ron Jacobs. Then the squad got Danny Ildefonso when they swapped picks with Shell (Shell received Noy Castillo). Then SMB acquired Danny Seigle as their direct hire. Then they got Dorian Pena thru free agency after he finished his contract with the Negros Slashers. And finally, they got Dondon Hontiveros from Tanduay after the Bong Tan-owned franchise went berserk and traded their best bets for journeymen.


And the rest is history.


Game over.


And then, here comes the 2022 re-write.



 

First of all, that blog did not age well.


While Olsen Racela has been part of San Miguel's coaching carousel (at one point, serving as one of the many head coaches in San Miguel's Petronovela Era), the team also looked for his heir apparent in a time when he can still go. We have seen the likes of Mike Cortez, LA Tenorio, Jonas Villanueva, Bonbon Custodio, Paul Artadi, and Solomon Mercado before settling with Alex Cabagnot... for the second time.


The Two Dannys fared even worse.


Danny Seigle, alongside Dondon Hontiveros and Dorian Pena, were sent to Air21 (that became Barako Bull) in the Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Nonoy Baclao, and Rey Guevarra trade. Seigle would then finish his career when he signed with the Talk N Text Tropang Texters.


Danny Ildefonso, on the other hand, stayed with the team until 2013, when a bold statement gave the SMC management reason to part ways with the two-MVP. Ildefonso would play sparingly for the Meralco Bolts and would have some sort of controversy when he was selected by Blackwater in the expansion draft but he would also announce his retirement in 2015.


Hontiveros and Pena also returned to the SMC and while Hontiveros would acquire a thing for Philippine politics in his post-PBA career, Pena also did something after his playing days.


I am not going there.


The replacement players of Alex Cabagnot, Arwind Santos, and Jay Washington paved the way for Petronovela. This is a dark era in San Miguel where they looked good on paper but terribly used their talents and resources and missed out on a lot of championships.


With that said, they also paved the way for San Miguel's Death Five of the mid-to-late 2010s with the appointment of Leo Austria as head coach, the selection of June Mar Fajardo as the top pick, and the acquisitions of Marcio Lassiter and Chris Ross. With Cabagnot, Santos, and the ones mentioned in this paragraph, San Miguel scored eight championships and seven MVPs (six coming from Fajardo).


And now, the wheel has begun to spin.


As of the 2021-22 PBA season, CJ Perez and Terrence Romeo led the team in scoring with Fajardo, Lassiter, and Vic Manuel also finishing with double-digit outputs. Cabagnot and Santos have since been traded to other teams with the possibility of retirement in the works.


It's easy for us to think that San Miguel is uber greedy with their players. They really are. But another way of looking at this is their desire to stay on top. Outside the PBA, most of their brands are loved by millions of Filipinos. And if you check out the small market squads, most of the teams here have niche audiences. I can see no fault to present yourself in a grand manner.


With that said, there are Hall of Fame careers that have gone down with questionable scoring averages and forgettable seasons all because their team couldn't part with them and at the same time disrespecting their skills by putting them on the bench.


In some ways, Cabagnot and Santos got lucky because they still thrived away from San Miguel.

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