PLANS are afoot to honor the 40 greatest players in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) when Asia's first professional cage league celebrates its 40th anniversary next season.
League officials have confirmed that a Forty Greatest PBA Players list is being eyed to highlight its 40th anniversary celebration next season, which would be the first time the PBA will come out with such an honor since honoring the top 25 players of its first 25 years back in 2000.
The Top 40 list, once done, will be a chance for players who stood out over the past two decades to join the esteemed list - a pool of candidates that includes stars like Danny Ildefonso, Mark Caguioa, James Yap, Danny Seigle, Asi Taulava, Eric Menk, Dondon Hontiveros, and Willie Miller.
In the past, the league gathered its present and former commissioners - namely Leo Prieto, Rudy Salud, Rey Marquez, and Jun Bernardino - to pick the 25 Greatest Players.
According to PBA operations director Rickie Santos, the group decided to make former MVPs automatic selections to the esteemed list and deliberated on the rest of the choices.
Members of the 25 Greatest Players list are Johnny Abarrientos, Ato Agustin, Bogs Adornado, Francis Arnaiz, Ricky Brown, Allan Caidic, Hector Calma, Philip Cezar, Atoy Co, Jerry Codinera, Kenneth Duremdes, Bernie Fabiosa, Ramon Fernandez, Danny Florencio, Abet Guidaben, Robert Jaworski, Freddie Hubalde, Jojo Lastimosa, Lim Eng Beng, Samboy Lim, Ronnie Magsanoc, Vergel Meneses, Manny Paner, Alvin Patrimonio, and Benjie Paras.
All those players are now considered shoo-ins to the Top 40 list.
This time, the league said it plans to convene a 'council of elders' to come up with the selections, although it is still not sure if the only surviving former commissioners - namely Sonny Barrios, Noli Eala, and Marquez - will be invited to join current chief Chito Salud in the proceedings.
One man being eyed to join the selection committee is Jaworski, largely regarded as the most popular player in league history. The 'Big J,' an official said, has already been sounded off about the plan when he turned up for Game Six of the Ginebra-San Mig semifinal series in the last Philippine Cup.
The former Ginebra coach expressed his willingness to take part in the proceedings, a league official said.
If the next selection committee follows the same criteria, players like Caguioa, Yap, Taulava, lldefonso, Menk, and Miller will be seeded into the list along with fellow former MVPs Jayjay Helterbrand, Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams, and Arwind Santos.
Also in the frame are now-retired players who were deemed "too young" to be considered for spots in the 25 Greatest Players list, among them Olsen Racela, Jeffrey Cariaso, Marlou Aquino, and Dennis Espino.
From that batch, only Duremdes made the Top 25 list by virtue of his MVP year in 1998.
Also expected to be given a second look are PBA greats like Bong Hawkins and Nelson Asaytono, who were both bypassed in the 25 Greatest selection.
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