Sports: Our Ilonggo Players in the PBA
Since the inception of the Philippine Basketball Association in 1975, more or less 50 Ilonggo professional basketball players have played for different professional league ballclubs and we are featuring them in today’s column.
The likes of Danny Basilan, Jess Migalbin, Rudy Distrito, Yves Dignadice, Freche Ang, Noli Locsin, Leo Bat-og, Bong Ravena, Vernie Villarias, Richard Yee and Francis ‘Mr Clutch’ Arnaiz have all strutted their wares in the PBA a long time ago.
Ditto with such former PBA players like Teodorico ‘Boyet’ Fernandez III of Valladolid town who guided the defunct Sta Lucia Realtors to a masterful conquest of Purefoods in their All-Filipino championship showdown a few seasons back, Mike Mustre, Wilmer Ong and Jimmy Noblezada of Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod.
At present, we’ve got a handful of them left playing for different PBA quintets a few weeks prior to the 2012-13 season lead by James Yap of San Mig Coffee (formerly B-Meg) as well as Jeff Chan of Governors’ Cup champion Rain or Shine.
Actually, the two Negrense PBA players with Chinese-sounding (and spelling as well!) surnames won the last two Finals MVP awards-Yap for the Commissioner’s Cup Finals and Chan for the season-ending Governors’ Cup Finals won by their respective teams.
Then we have also 2010 No. 1 rookie pick Severino Baclao of the Air21 Express, a former West Negros College (now University) Mustang stalwart who have likewise seen action for Air21 (renamed Barako Bull) and Petron in just two seasons so far.
Fiery forward Ronald Tubid of Oton town in Iloilo province is now with the Barako Bull Energy of Coach Junel Baculi alongside rookie Emman Monfort of Iloilo City (or Dumangas?) for the upcoming Philippine Cup wars set to begin on September 30.
Former Adamson University Falcon Ken Bono’s stint with San Mig Coffee still hangs in the air and it’s possible he’ll be eventually cut from the team’s final 14-man roster come the Philippine Cup with the entry of tall freshmen Aldrech Ramos, Gian Chiu and Jewel Ponferada in the lineup.
Meralco’s Mark Yee of Sagay City, brother of my good friend Sheena Oliveros-Yee, may also be dropped from the Bolts roster during the All-Filipino after the team acquired Ronjay Buenafe from Rain or Shine as well as rookies Cliff Hodge and Kelly Nabong during the draft rites.
San Mig Coffee’s Joe Devance also traces his roots (mother side) to Escalante City, the hometown of teammate ‘Big Game’ James Yap while assistant Bolts mentor Boyet Fernandez is still active on the Meralco bench with Coach Ryan Gregorio calling the shots.
Of course, Talisay City’s Reynel Hugnatan is very much active in the Bolts bench as one of Coach Ryan’s dependable big men. He also saw action for Coke and Alaska prior to his transfer to Meralco and is an able defender against the opposition’s scoring forwards.
Belated birthday greetings to Flora Mae Alvarez of Bago City who celebrated her natal day last August 30 and congratulations to Police Superintendent David Cachumbo of Barangay Ma-ao who was named as officer in-charge of Bago City Police Station effective August 31.*
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