THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) turns a new leaf on Wednesday when it celebrates four decades of existence by honoring the 40 greatest players in its history.
The elaborate ceremony dubbed ‘PBA FAB@40’ starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Newport Performing Arts Theatre Resorts World Manila with two-time MVP honorees led by active superstar James Yap welcoming the 15 other players added to the league’s list of greatest players of all time.
The 15 players who will join the first batch of 25 greatest earlier named to celebrated the league’s 25th anniversary include one-time MVP winners Asi Taulava, Eric Menk, Kelly Williams, Jayjay Helterbrand, Jimmy Alapag, Mark Caguioa, and Arwind Santos, along with Jayson Castro, Marc Pingris, Kerby Raymundo, Chito Loyzaga, and Marlou Aquino.
League chairman Patrick Gregorio said limiting the choices to just 40 players was a daunting task especially for a league that has spawned a lot of great players in its long and colorful history.
“Forty will never be enough. We’ve had so many great PBA players since 1975,” said Gregorio. “But to celebrate our 40th season, we had to do the difficult task of naming the 40 greatest PBA players – the pillars of the league. Mga idolo ng bawat Pilipino.”
Also expected to attend the affair are most of the 25 Greatest Players awardees, including Robert Jaworski, Ramon Fernandez, Alvin Patrimonio, Bogs Adornado, Abet Guidaben, Benjie Paras, Atoy Co, Freddie Hubalde, Philip Cezar, Ricky Brown, Johnny Abarrientos, Ato Agustin, Francis Arnaiz, Allan Caidic, Hector Calma, Jerry Codinera, Kenneth Duremdes, Bernie Fabiosa, Danny Florencio, Jojo Lastimosa, Lim Eng Beng, Samboy Lim, Ronnie Magsanoc, Vergel Meneses and Manny Paner.
The pioneer sportswriters who covered the league in its maiden season will also be recognized, namely Gus Villanueva, Lito Tacujan, Ding Marcelo, Ernie Gonzales, Jun Engracia, and Eddie Alinea.
A fashion show will also highlight the event under the direction of Manila’s premiere Robby Carmona featuring hunk players in their summer, denim, preppy, and formal attires.
Also part of the fashion event is the PBA couples segment presented by Smart, Resorts World Manila, Dickies, Blackwater, NLEX, Toby’s Sports, Hungry Juan, R&J Jewelry Class Ring and Metalcraft Inc., and Blackwater.
Christian Bautista and Julie Ann San Jose will provide the entertainment numbers during the affair which also features the launching of the PBA Credit Card, PBA Slam video game, PBA Life Magazine, PBA Silver Accessories, and PBA Mobile Phones.