Eagles abound in pro league
Allan Caidic, who terrorized the opposition with his hot hands in the collegiate and professional leagues, isn’t surprised that UAAP champion Ateneo has the most number of players strutting their wares in the Philippine Basketball Association.
Like the legendary University of the East gunner, fellow PBA Hall of Famer and four-time Most Valuable Player Ramon Fernandez, now a commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission, and new Phoenix Fuel Masters head coach Louie Alas know there are more Blue Eagles than La Salle Green Archers or FEU Tamaraws in the pro ranks.
UE teammate and another PBA great, Jerry Codiñera, shared Caidic’s observation, saying that players want to be identified with Ateneo because of alumni and fans’ support, not to mention its marketing savvy.
“Teams are inclined to get players from schools with winning tradition and Ateneo has a winning tradition,” said Caidic, who won three MVP awards during the Red Warriors’ three UAAP championships in 1982, 1984 and 1985.
Currently, there are 20 Blue Eagles in the pro ranks—Chris Tiu, Von Pessumal, Frank Golla, Nico Salva, Chris Newsome, Emman Monfort, Juami Tiongson, Larry Fonacier, Kiefer Ravena, Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Ponzo Gotladera, JC Intal, Justin Chua, Doug Kramer, Noy Baclao, LA Tenorio, Greg Slaughter, Japeth Aguilar, Poy Erram and Nico Elorde.
Terrence Romeo of GlobalPort heads 14 pros from FEU, the same number of players from NCAA champion San Beda. La Salle has 10.
Alas, a star out of Adamson, shares the belief that Ateneo’s recruitment program is a gem while Fernandez noted that Ateneo has a wide network of contacts and the finances to recruit blue-chip players.
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