THE game has evolved so much that when we asked Alvin Patrimonio who he thinks are the best post-up players since he retired, 'The Captain' joked the traditional big men are already a dying breed.
“Mayroon pa ba?” he asked with a smile in a recent chat with SPIN.ph as he spoke about an era in the pro league where guards are usually the focal point of a team’s offense and big men are spending less time at the low post and shooting more from the outside.
Turning serious, Patrimonio, definitely the best post-up player during his time, had to take a long pause before figuring out who to put on his list of probable successors.
The 6-foot-3 Patrimonio, who retired in 2004 as only the second player in PBA history after the great Mon Fernandez to win four league MVP trophies, rattled off some qualities of being a great back-to-the basket post-up player.
“Ganun naman dapat ang post players eh, palaging strong to the hoop. Gusto mo palagi na and-one,” said the 16-year veteran, who finished his career at No. 3 in the all-time scoring list (15,091) and No. 4 in rebounds (6,152). “May good hands, nakaka-finish. May ibang post players kasi na hindi maka-finish.”
“Yung mga spin moves, nakaka-miss din kasi ‘yun eh. Parang wala ng gumagawa ngayon,” the 50-year-old Patriminio, now the team manager of Star, added. “But nakikita ko sa five na yan (ang qualities na pwedeng mapasama sila sa list).”
Here are his Top Five:
Patromino passed the torch to Danny I when the former was at the twilight of his career, lauding his successor for his array of moves down low.
“Nung nag-retire ako nandun pa siya,” Patrimonio said of the two-time MVP. “Madami ring moves pag sa ilalim.”
Some would be surprised to see the Meralco veteran in this list. Yet Patrimonio included him for his high basketball IQ, saying the Meralco veteran knows when to attack the paint and when to take the midrange jumper.
“Kasi ako, na-develop ko rin yan … minaster ko muna yung perimeter eh, so nung lumalapit na rin yung defense, aatekihin ko sa post,” Patrimonio recounted.
Like Patrimonio, Hugnatan developed a dependable three-point shot late in his career.
Ranidel de Ocampo
It’s easy to include RDO on any all-time list (he was part of Vergel Meneses’ list of five best scorers since his retirement). The versatile TNT star’s post game is as deadly as his perimeter play, becoming one of the first to be called a 'stretch-4' when people started coining the term.
“Ganun din, inside and outside din siya,” Patrimonio said of the Gilas Pilipinas veteran.
Ping took over Patrimino as Purefoods’ best big man, probably also mimicking his predecessor’s moves.
“May mga opportunity, may mga time na nagagawa niya yung post moves, napapa-awe ka, kasi ang galing eh. Parang flashback eh, ‘Uy, galaw ko ‘yun ah!’” Patrimonio admitted.
“(Gusto ko rin) yung athleticism niya, yung passion niya for the game,” he added of the man who was once the heart and soul of the national team.
June Mar Fajardo
The San Miguel Beer superstar, barring any major injury, is set to not only match, but exceed Patriminio’s and Fernandez’s record four MVPs.
And the 6-foot-10 slotman’s sheer size is what makes him unstoppable – apart from his developing post game.
“Ang laki eh. Paano mo pipigilan yun?” Patrimonio asked.
Greg Slaughter – “Yun (size) naman ang strength niya eh.”
Yancy de Ocampo – “Actually, si Yancy magaling din sa post. Yung De Ocampo brothers, okay naman yung footwork nila.”
Gabby Espinas – “Si Gabby, magaling din. Pag atake, strong to the hoop eh.”
Ian Sangalang – “Siguro sila Ian, in the future, mama-master din niya yun. Bata pa naman siya. Marami pang chance to improve.”