CHARITY games in Ormoc, Leyte became the perfect opportunity for the core of the old Purefoods squad to get together for a long-overdue reunion over the weekend.
On the initiative of Rey Evangelista, four-time MVP Alvin Patriminio, Dindo Pumaren, Glenn Capacio and other vanguards of the Purefoods team that won nine championships together during the nineties returned to the court in the popular franchise's old blue and white jerseys.
"Masaya," Evangelista, a former All-Defensive Team mainstay who played all his 14 seasons with Purefoods, said of the game against an Ormoc selection that raised funds for the various socio-civic programs of the Ormoc City Host Lions, of which Evangelista is one of the leaders.
Also joining the team were Nelson Asaytono, who started his career as Patrimonio's back-up at Purefoods before suiting up for Swift and San Miguel; Rodney Santos, Roger Yap, Reuben Dela Rosa, Peter Naron, and man-mountain Bonel Balingit.
Balingit, who suited up for Purefoods briefly in the late stage of his career, came in from Cebu, Naron joined the team from Tagbilaran, Bohol while Dela Rosa made the drive from Capoocan, Leyte where he is now based.
Too bad Jerry Codinera and Bong Ravena were unable to join the reunion as they are part of the coaching staff of TNT KaTropa, which is playing San Miguel in the ongoing PBA Commissioner's Cup Finals.
The Purefoods greats lost both games at the Tacloban Astrodome and the Ormoc City Superdome, but Evangelista said everyone had a grand time especially Pumaren and Capacio, who rarely join PBA greats in exhibition games.
Evangelista said it was also nice to see the PBA greats do their signature moves - only a tad slower.
"Nakikita mo pa rin yung mga galaw nila nung kalakasan pa nila," the former national player said. "Puro bumagal na.nga lang."