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The legends of our time



Old photographs bring back memories.

On 9 April 2000, there was a lot of nostalgia when the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) celebrated its 25th anniversary by naming the 25 Greatest Players in PBA History.

It was the first time for Asia’s first play-for-pay league to honor such a big number of what it deemed as its best batch of all time.

It took 15 more years before the PBA added 15 other players to the list.

The Daily Tribune looks back to that day when the PBA honored its 25 Greatest Players, chosen for their contributions to the league based on the following criteria:

1. The player must have played at least four full seasons with the league;
2. The player must be a recipient of a major award (either a Most Valuable Player or Rookie of the Year awardee or a member of the mythical selection, or all-defensive teams);
3. The player must have done a major impact with the sport and the league; and
4. The player must have contributed towards the positive development of basketball in the country.

Some were easy to pick.

Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio were hands down choices to make the roster. They each won four MVP Awards that highlighted their illustrious careers.

Also Bogs Adornado, a three-time MVP; and Abet Guidaben and Benjie Paras, each a two-time winner of the MVP plum, with Paras winning his first alongside a Rookie of The Year trophy.

Each with an MVP to show were Ato Agustin, Allan Caidic, Atoy Co, Freddie Hubalde, Vergel Meneses, Ricardo Brown, Philip Cezar and Kenneth Duremdes.

But even without an MVP trophy to boot, equally great Jerry Codinera, Bernie Fabiosa, Jojo Lastimosa, Ronnie Magsanoc, Francis Arnaiz, Hector Calma, Lim Eng Beng, Danny Florencio, Manny Paner and Samboy Lim also deserved their inclusion on the list.

Many of the photographs provided by the PBA are grainy as their age, but most of these league greats are still enjoying the peak of their new careers.

Some of them have joined public service, like Jaworksi who served as a one-time senator of the republic and his rival Fernandez, who is now a Philippine Sports Commissioner. Cesar is now chief of the Manila Sports Council.

Codinera, Lastimosa, Magsanoc, Calma, Co, Meneses, Patrimonio and Duremdes are still active as coaches or executives in their teams and leagues.

The others have found new callings and are equally successful as their peers.