NELSON Asaytono had a few choice words to say after learning that he had once again been omitted from a 'Greatest Players' list put out by the PBA, but one line stands out.
"That's a lot of bull," said 'The Bull.'
The 17-year PBA veteran was left fuming after a PBA selection committee led by legends Robert Jaworski and Freddie Webb and columnist Quinito Henson released the latest entries to the PBA '40 Greatest Players' list and he was again not on it.
"Sabihin mo kalokohan 'yan, sila ba marunong ba silang pumili, sabihin mo," said the longtime PBA star in a telephone interview with Spin.ph. "Ako nag-re-react na ako ngayon kasi nakikita ko naman pare yung mga ibang player kukunin ng (selectors), di ba?"
Asaytono, 47, initially sounded calm when he first heard about the snub, saying he has grown so used to being bypassed for top honors after losing the 1992 MVP award to Ato Agustin.
He was also bypassed when the pro league honored the '25 Greatest Players' of its first 25 years back in 2000.
Listen to the podcast of the interview:
But 'The Bull' sounded more pissed when he called up Spin.ph on Wednesday, apparently after getting wind of the reaction of basketball fans who felt he should be part of the 'Greatest' list.
"Ang daming nare-react sa akin, (sinasabi), 'Niyari ka na naman nila… bakit hanggang ngayon,' di ba?" he said. "Ang sa akin lang, bakit ganun ang labanan… e tingnan nila sa stats… tingnan nila sa record namin, matagal din akong naglaro, 17 years din ako naglaro."
Outside of the players voted into the '25 Greatest' list in 2000 and the 10 league MVPs since then, the selection panel, which also included PBA chairman Pato Gregorio, vice-chairman Robert Non, PBA Press Corps president Barry Pascua, and Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, voted in Jayson Castro, Marc Pingris, Chito Loyzaga, Marlou Aquino, and Kerby Raymundo.
Aside from Asaytono, among those prominently left out of the elite list were Danny Seigle, Abe King, Arnie Tuadles, Olsen Racela, Bong Hawkins, Jeff Cariaso, and Dennis Espino.
Part of the initial list of 14 nominees, Asaytono’s name did not even make it to the last eight candidates which the selection panel considered for the five remaining slots in the list.
The San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro native said the selectors needed only to look at the record books to know what he had achieved in a career that distinguished him as one of the highest-scoring power forwards in the league.
“Pero tingnan mo sa history ng (all time) stats list, tingnan mo kung pang ilan ako,” he said.
By statistics alone, Asaytono really stood out.
The former University of Manila star is fifth in the PBA all-time scoring list with with 12,268 total points, behind only Ramon Fernandez, Abet Guidaben, Alvin Patrimonio and Atoy Co.
Asaytono, in fact, is the only member of the Top 14 all time scorers not included in the '25 Greatest' list.
Asaytono is also No. 4 all time in free throws made with 2,999, 11th in the all-time rebounding list (4,469) and ninth overall in most games played at 820.
"Sabihin mo ganito, maraming nagre-react sa ginawa nila, kalokohan lang yan," said Asaytono. "Lokohan ba talaga? Yung mga ganyan dapat ino-automatic nila y'an, nakikita naman nila e, yung pagsisilbi sa PBA.
"Lalaki pa ba naman yung stats nila sa akin, kalokohan 'yun."
Asaytono, however, bared that he has become numb when it comes to awards snubs. He only raised his expectations the first time he was in contention for the MVP back in 1992, but has stopped hoping after losing out to Agustin.
“Hindi na ako nag e-expect ng mga award kahit nung naglalaro ako. About sa mga ganyan, hindi ako nag-e-expect, one time lang ako nag-expect ng MVP dati,” he said.
“Nag expect lang ako nung kalaban ko si Ato (Agustin), na talaga namang dapat ako 'yun. First na ano ko 'yun, unang una ko na candidate ng MVP 'yun. After nun, 'pag lumalaban ako ng MVP, wala na lang, balewala na lang.
“Naka-limang MVP nomination yata ako."
Listen to the podcast of the second interview with Asaytono: