Benjie Paras, the PBA’s only Rookie of the Year and MVP on the same year, and backcourt partner Ronnie Magsanoc were nominated along with seven others yesterday for inclusion into the league’s Hall-of-Fame.
Paras, who won a second MVP—10 years after achieving the rare feat in 1999 while playing for defunct Formula Shell, and Magsanoc, possibly the best three-point shooting point guard the PBA has seen, were hands-down choices from the list of qualified greats.
The late Arnie Tuadles, the Rookie of the Year for Toyota in 1979, Lim Eng Beng and the indefatigable Sean Chambers, the resident Alaska import during its dynastic run in the 90s, were the other players to get the nod from the nomination committee.
Ed Ocampo, who coached several teams after a glorious amateur career, referee Igmidio Cahanding, journalist Fred Luarca and Elmer Yanga, the former Swift team manager and alternate board member, were the non-players endorsed to the Honors Committee.
The PBA started filling up its Hall of Fame in 2006 with Norman Black, the former import and coach, former Ambassador Danding Cojuangco, coach Ron Jacobs and Antonio Siddayao leading six others as the first inductees.
Paras and Magsanoc, incidentally, were in the nomination committee called by the league yesterday. The Inquirer sat in the nomination committee along with journalist Quinito Henson, PBA media bureau head Willie Marcial, PBA operations chief Rickie Santos and broadcaster Dennis Principe.
From the selection committee, the names of the nine nominees will then be forwarded to the Honors Committee which will be made up of commissioner Chito Salud and the Philippine Sportswriters Association president, among others.
Paras, now 44, played a total of 15 seasons and ended his career after a brief stop at San Miguel Beer. He averaged 17.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 586 total games.
Magsanoc, meanwhile, spent his best years as Paras’ main point guard before joining Sta. Lucia and then retiring after playing briefly for Purefoods. The 47-year-old also played in 15 seasons for a total of 618 games with averages of 12.7 points, 5.2 assists and a steal.
Tuadles, the Cebu native, played for Shell, Presto, Alaska and Ginebra. He averaged 13.6 points in 692 total games.