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Codiñera on the ‘Defense Minister’

/ 01:19 AM November 19, 2014

Jerry Codiñera, dubbed the “Defense Minister” when he was still active in the PBA, celebrated his 48th birthday with a group of  young online scribes (OMG-sportsPH) last Friday at Country Spice restaurant.

To the scribes who probably weren’t even in their teens when he was playing for Purefoods alongside four-time MVP Alvin Patrimonio, Codiñera was an idol they watched and admired from a distance.

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Now that he’s within reach, they eagerly engaged him in an informal, roundtable discussion on various basketball subjects.

The writers were particularly interested in his partnership with Patrimonio—was there competition between them? Were they the best of friends off the court?

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Within Purefoods, competition could not be avoided, Codiñera said, since they both wanted to excel. “We always had a common goal, though, and that was to win the game,” he said, adding he realized the bond between them only when they got separated.

“We were like conjoined twins who were torn apart. The feeling was so strange, it’s hard to describe,” Codiñera said, recalling the time he was traded to another team.

To date, the PBA legend still holds the PBA record for most blocked shots.

“I really wish it would be broken. I sincerely hope tall guys like Japeth Aguilar and two-time MVP June Mar Fajardo would make a conscious effort to establish a new record,” said Codiñera, who is now head coach of Arellano University in the NCAA.

As he blew out the 48 candles on the mocha chiffon cake gifted him by TV5 online sports’ Rey Joble, Jerry closed his eyes and made his wishes. He thanked Rey for the cake and restaurateur Allan Gregorio for the pork barbecue and pancit served during the occasion.

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Aside from “Prince” Albert Pagara, the boxing community we encountered in Cebu during the staging of Pinoy Pride 28 “History in the Making” were also looking out for the very aggressive Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo, 19, who knocked out South Korean Jung Moon-sun in the second round.

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With only 10 bouts to his name, Pagara is already being tagged as the next Manny Pacquiao.

That’s what my seatmates—GAB commissioner Ramon Guanzon and WBO boxing judge Salven Lagumbay—whispered to me on fight night.

Except for Merlito Sabillo, who lost to Paris Nenggo of Indonesia last Saturday night, the nine other Filipino fighters of ALA dominated in the ring.

* * *

SMS from Albert Almendralejo: “Former Shell coach Perry Ronquillo, who is now based in San Francisco, California, is in town to visit his father, who recently had a stroke. He is thinking of going back to coaching, if there’s an opportunity. He will be here until Dec. 1.”

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