AS the PBA looks forward with confidence to a new season, the pro league looked back to its great past by honoring four new Hall of Famers for their major contributions to its rich history.
The fifth batch of Hall of Fame inductees - the late former player and coach Ed Ocampo, former rookie-MVP awardee Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc and former U-Text star Lim Eng Beng - were honored in rites highlighting the opening of the league's 39th season on Sunday.
“They (Hall of Famers) have been truly instrumental in placing the PBA and putting the PBA where it is today,” Salud told Spin.ph, shortly after the colorful rites that also had ceremonies held simultaneously in Cebu City and Davao.
As the league welcomes 21 new rookies led by 6’11” Barangay Ginebra slotman Greg Slaughter, San Mig’s Ian Sangalang and Rain or Shine’s Raymond Almazan, Salud appealed to the freshmen to follow the example of these Hall of Famers.
“I think these are the people they (PBA players) should look up to. Malinis, desente, they gave their all during their (PBA) stints, during their tenure. And you see how decent they live, are still connected in the PBA somehow, at wala kang maririnig na anumang aberya or anomalya, they are truly great role models for the youth,” explained the PBA chieftain.
The 6’5” Paras is a two-time league MVP, who had his best PBA years with Shell which he led to four league championships during his distinguished 14-year professional career.
On the other hand, Magsanoc, Paras’ teammate during Shell’s glory years, won two PBA championships before joining Sta. Lucia and winding up his career with Purefoods.
Meantime, Lim won two championships with U/Tex squad during the height of the Crispa-Toyota rivalry while Ocampo, a noted defensive wizard during his heydays with the national team, is a former coach of Toyota and was one of the only 10 coaches to win at least four PBA titles.