PBA celebrates 40th year, recognizes its 40 greatest players
The Philippine Basketball Association on Wednesday celebrated its 40th year as Asia’s pioneering professional basketball league at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at the Resorts World Manila in Pasay City.
As part of the PBA’s grand celebration, the league also enshrined 15 players into its Greatest Players’ list. Members of the original 25 members, led by the Living Legend himself Robert Jaworski, also graced the momentous gathering of the league’s past and present stars.
“When the 40th Season if the PBA opened at the Philippine Arena, the unprecedented crowd and overwhelming support told me that the PBA has done something right throughout its existence,” said incumbent league commissioner Chito Salud in his opening remarks.
“What is the PBA? Who is the PBA? It is our honorees and we thank them sincerely for their contributions,” Salud said.
The league also recognized the original members of the media who covered the very first season.
The media awardees were Jun Engracia and Ernie Gonzales of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Lito Tacujan of the Philippine Star, Ding Marcelo of the Manila Bulletin and Eddie Alinea of the People’s Chronicle.
Two-time MVP James Yap, former National team captain Jimmy Alapag and Chito Loyzaga led the newest batch of PBA greats.
“Please don’t forget this is not an entitlement. This is a responsibility for you to continue taking care for you to continue to loving the PBA and for you to continue loving the PBA fans,” league chairman Patrick Gregorio said.
The other players named into the Greatest Players’ list were former Ginebra center Marlou Aquino, Purefoods forward Marc Pingris, Talk ‘N Text’s Jayson Castro and Kelly Williams, Ginebra guards Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand, Danny Ildefonso, former Purefoods forward Kerby Raymundo, veteran big men Eric Menk and Asi Taulava, two-time MVP Willie Miller and San Miguel Beer’s Arwind Santos.
“Hindi ko ma-imagine na nandito ako ngayon. Dati naglalaro lang ako sa kalye sa probinsya tapos ngayon kasama na ako sa 40 Greatest Players ng PBA,” Yap, one of the most popular players in the league today, said. CC