10 | FREDDIE HUBALDE
14.4ppg | 4.8rpg | 2.8apg | 0.7spg | 0.7bpg | 389 games
As far as rivalries, when I look at the pioneers and people compare the careers of Ramon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben, I can’t help but do the same with Freddie Hubalde and Arnie Tuadles. Furthermore, if I said that Abet Guidaben is the Poch Juinio of his team, then Hubalde is probably their version of Jeffrey Cariaso or Kenneth Duremdes. Hubalde and Tuadles’ numbers are insanely identical at this stage of their careers but the difference perhaps lies that Hubalde exploited a Bogs Adornado injury and move to the U/Tex Wranglers and became the second Crispa player to win the MVP award.
9 | LIM ENG BENG
16.9ppg | 3.3rpg | 3.1apg | 0.7spg | 287 games
Despite the championship accolades of both Crispa and Toyota, it’s easy to note that some of their top stars are bound to share possessions for the sake of glory. The same can be said with mid-tier teams boasting a couple of top stars. U/Tex is basically the third-best squad in the league and since joining the team in 1976, Lim Eng Beng had risen as a team superstar. In the Wranglers’ brief league stint, the former DLSU gunner is their all-time leader in points and assists. His stock also gets a major boost in the playoffs – a time where Lim and his two championship contributions are just too valuable to shrug.
8 | BOGS ADORNADO
20.2ppg | 3.0rpg | 1.8apg | 0.3spg | 286 games
I don’t know why Bogs Adornado is this deep on this list. Maybe it’s the injury he suffered in 1977... OR maybe it’s the fact that his other counting stats aren’t as high as his points (it’s probably because Abet Guidaben and Philip Cezar are lurking on the inside). With that said, his scoring numbers are just too insane to shrug. I guess this is why Adornado became the league’s first back-to-back MVP. The many-time scoring champion is here because he’s a scoring machine. Can you imagine Adornado playing in the current product with the green light to hit troikas with a minimum of ten tries?
7 | DANNY FLORENCIO
19.9ppg | 2.9rpg | 2.5apg | 1.1spg | 260 games
Debuting in the year he would turn 28, Danny Florencio was the designated scorer of our Olympic drive in the 60s and 70s. It’s also the same case when he played in the PBA – as the number one scorer in U/Tex and the monster contributor in 7-Up. It was with the Uncolas that he posted an average of 32.3 points per game – the highest tally by any local ever – in 1977. His numbers began to drop when he switched allegiances and joined the already-overpowered Toyota Super Corollas. I guess it’s logical that a man already in his 30s would favor championships over individual honors.
6 | FRANCIS ARNAIZ
17.3ppg | 2.7rpg | 4.7apg | 0.9spg | 376 games
This is one of the reasons why I want the PBA to just give all their stats away on the internet for the consumption of every PBA fan. I am a fan of history and for the longest time, I never really thought much of the exploits of Mr. Clutch. Sure, I know his past as one of the catalysts of Toyota’s championship drive but apart from his scoring average in that span, I never knew he has a top-tier assist and steal numbers. And here’s the scary thing about his numbers from that span – he is 0.01 points fewer than his team’s top frontline threat (more on this later) and he is just one of four players from his team on this list that averages 16 points and higher. Again, this is not to mention Francis Arnaiz’s other numbers! I mean what the hell, PBA office! Cough up the stats for everyone to see!
5 | PHILIP CEZAR
15.6ppg | 6.9rpg | 2.8apg | 0.7spg | 1.6bpg | 383 games
I actually found The Scholar’s stats odd. I get that Crispa boasts a collection of awesome players during this period. His swats are top tier level and I guess when you have four or five players averaging in double figures, the second-leading scorer should be within the 13 to 17ppg range. I thought he would have more rebounds though. Not knocking on the exploits of Philip Cezar, but I just thought of him as a statistical version of Danny Ildefonso back then and not a superbly leveled-up version of Rey Evangelista. And yeah, it also dawned on me that Cezar is putting up monster numbers while playing his part as the team’s resident import stopper.
4 | MANNY PANER
16.3ppg | 9.2rpg | 2.3apg | 0.7spg | 284 games
When it comes to non-Crispa and Toyota players that should have gotten more accolades, it’s impossible to not care about the accomplishments of Manny Paner. Inasmuch as I find the gameplay of Marcio Lassiter awesome, it’s hard to discount the numbers of San Miguel Beer’s first superstar. The dude is a monster underneath the board and his offense also poses a problem for defensive specialists. Within this time period, Paner has proven that he can rival the likes of Ramon Fernandez and Philip Cezar. With that said, this is also the time when his game began to deteriorate – especially during his second tour of duty with the Beermen after signing with the Great Taste Coffee Makers.
3 | ATOY CO
20.8ppg | 3.6rpg | 4.1apg | 0.8spg | 0.6bpg | 389 games
The Fortune Cookie is in some ways the career that Allan Caidic should have gotten. I know The Triggerman is anything but a bad player but man, Atoy Co’s accomplishments are really something. I mean, being that good despite the level of awesomeness divided between his teammates is just unreal. At that point, Co is the all-time leader in points and this would be the case up until the league’s tenth year. I know Caidic took the reins from Co when he came to the league in 1987, his individual and team accomplishments fail in comparison to that of Co. Well, I guess they are kind of at par in their first years in the league... only for Co to have more numbers within a ten-year range. Also, his assists are also within the elite range.
2 | ROBERT JAWORSKI
16.8ppg | 7.5rpg | 6.7apg | 1.4spg | 380 games
Robert Jaworski made his PBA debut as one of the pioneers in 1975 and at that point, he is about to turn 30 years old. And while most of his contemporaries are either retired or about to retire, it’s insane that it took The Living Legend a political dream to hang up his sharp elbows and penchant to make the referees cry with his words. Anywho, there is a reason why The Big J amassed an insane, cult-like following during his heyday and one of the reasons is his awesome Toyota gameplay. Perhaps the best year of his career happened in 1978 when he became the first Toyota player to win an MVP award because he almost had a triple-double season. Imagine playing point in the current landscape with an average of nearly eight rebounds per game. And here’s the kicker – Jawo is not even the best player on this list.
1 | RAMON FERNANDEZ
17.4ppg | 8.6rpg | 3.8apg | 1.5spg | 2.3bpg | 370 games
I guess El Presidente is the obvious choice to rank first in this list. I mean... have you seen his numbers? At this point, Don Ramon is number in all-time rebounds and all-time blocks. With that said, this is not as sure as one would think. Remember the trivia I said a while back on the two pioneers MVP alongside Abet Guidaben who have yet to win the MVP award by the 1981 PBA season? Well... Ramon Fernandez is the other guy. It’s amazing to know that with all his individual accolades, he got snubbed for seven seasons. Anyway, The Franchise would win his first of four MVP awards in the 1982 season and would earn three almost grand slams before joining the San Miguel Beermen in the middle of their grand slam journey in 1989. Up until June Mar Fajardo, the achievements he compiled from 1975 to 1984 are virtually unbreakable.
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