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    PBA stars and the teams you hardly remember they played for

    May 28, 2020

    JIMMY Alapag has been such a staple of the TNT franchise that it's hard to imagine him wearing different threads.

    Yet "The Mighty Mouse" did.

    Announcing his retirement on January 2015, the 5-foot-9 gunner wore his sneakers anew seven months later and was traded to Meralco.

    It was the first time that Alapag wasn't wearing the familiar TNT blue-and-whites in his PBA career and even today, pictures of him in orange felt weird.

    That only lasted a season, with the 2011 PBA MVP deciding to finally call it a career before the 2016-17 season.

    But he's not the lone player to do that one-and-done stint, suiting up for a club outside of the franchise a player was known for.

    Spin.ph lists down nine more players who had those "don't blink or you might miss it" runs.

    Benjie Paras (San Miguel)


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    Like Alapag, Paras announced his retirement before the 2003 season, ending a 13-year run with Shell which he led to four championships.

    By then, his career was already set being the league's only rookie to win the MVP award in 1989 while also repeating as MVP a decade later.

    Yet much to everyone's surprise, "The Tower of Power" came out of retirement and signed a two-month contract with San Miguel in June 2003.

    With the UP standout, the Jong Uichico-coached Beermen made it to the Finals of the 2003 Reinforced Conference but only settled for bridesmaid honors, falling to the Chot Reyes-mentored Coca Cola side, led by Jeffrey Cariaso, Johnny Abarrientos, and Rudy Hatfield in seven games.

    Paras went back to retirement at the season's end.

    Bogs Adornado (Hills Bros.)


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    Adornado, a three-time PBA MVP in his time with Crispa and U-Tex, was fast approaching the twilight of his career in the early 1980s.

    And in 1987, the University of Santo Tomas product was traded from Shell to Hills Bros. (now Alaska).

    With the Coffee Kings, Adornado teamed up with "Bruise Brothers" Yoyoy Villamin and Ricky Relosa, as well as players like Tim Coloso, Adonis Tierra, and Joey Marquez (yes, that Joey Marquez).

    Hills Bros. reached the Finals in both the All-Filipino and Reinforced Conferences, yet lost in both title clashes, first against Great Taste and the other versus San Miguel.

    It turned out to be Adornado's final playing year in the PBA. He soon took over the head coaching role for Alaska in the 1988 Reinforced Conference.

    Vergel Meneses (Talk 'N Text)


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    Meneses will always be known for his stint with Swift where he won all of his three titles and took home the 1995 MVP award.

    But when the 2000s came, "The Aerial Voyager" was already a well-travelled veteran, making stops in Ginebra, FedEx, and Red Bull.

    Yet only a few remember that Meneses' final year was spent with the Phone Pals.

    Reuniting with his old coach Derrick Pumaren, the pride of Jose Rizal University was relegated to a reserve role playing behind younger guys Renren Ritualo and Mac Cardona.

    Meneses only logged eight games in the 2006 Philippine Cup before he was no longer renewed and subsequently retired.

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      Japeth Aguilar (Burger King)


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      Here's a unique kind of one-and-done.

      Aguilar played only a lone game for Burger King after he was drafted first in the 2009 PBA Draft.

      In his solitary action for the Whoppers, the Sasmuan, Pampanga-born high-flyer logged 10 points, nine rebounds and a block in 24 minutes of action as Burger King fell to Purefoods, 93-80, in their 2009-10 Philippine Cup opener.

      Drama soon ensued following Aguilar's desire to play for the Smart Gilas program and he was soon traded to Talk 'N Text, which in turn loaned it to the Rajko Toroman-mentored national team.

      Hard to believe that this chapter occurred given how vastly improved Aguilar is both on and off-the-court for Ginebra.

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        Eric Menk (GlobalPort)


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        Speaking of Ginebra, how about Menk, a Gin Kings legend in his own right?

        Spending 11 years and claiming four championships, on top of his 2005 PBA MVP award, all under the banner of the crowd darlings, "Major Pain" found himself relegated to a reserve role following a slew of injuries in 2012 and was loaned to the San Miguel Beermen of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).

        After his contract wasn't renewed in 2013, GlobalPort tendered him an offer sheet which he signed and gave him a new lease on life in the PBA, playing together with a rookie Terrence Romeo.

        Menk spent a year with the Batang Pier before he was traded to Alaska in exchange for a pair of future picks. He spent two more seasons with the Aces before calling it a career in 2016.

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          Alex Cabagnot (GlobalPort) and Sol Mercado (San Miguel)


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          We'll package these two in one entry.

          Cabagnot, then with Petron, swapped places with Mercado, then with GlobalPort, in February before the 2014 Commissioner's Cup.

          With the Batang Pier, Cabagnot had the luxury of being a mentor to young bloods like Romeo, RR Garcia, and later on, Stanley Pringle.

          Meanwhile, Mercado was hitting it off with the Beermen, which had June Mar Fajardo approaching the peak of his powers.

          Ten months later, they traded places anew, this time with Mercado being packaged with a pair of second rounders in exchange for Cabagnot just before the 2015 Philippine Cup playoffs.

          For Cabagnot, it was the start of the San Miguel dynasty as the Beermen claimed the first of their five consecutive all-Filipino crowns.

          Mercado found himself lost in the shuffle before Ginebra acquired him in 2015 and won three titles.

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            Marc Pingris (San Miguel)


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            Pingris' career was already on the ascent in Purefoods when Magnolia (now San Miguel), in dire need to shore up its frontline, traded for the Pozorrubio, Pangasinan native on March 2008 in exchange for Enrico Villanueva.

            He spent a year and a half with San Miguel, forming a superb duo with his fellow Pangasinense Danny Ildefonso as the Beermen captured the 2009 Fiesta Conference crown behind import Gabe Freeman.

            It wasn't long before Pingris returned to Purefoods via a complex three-team trade which also saw Arwind Santos move to SMB just before the 2009-10 season.

            He got reunited with his old running partners James Yap and Peter June Simon as they claimed six more crowns together, including the famed Grand Slam under the San Mig Coffee banner in 2014.

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              Gary David (San Miguel)


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              Considered as one of the most lethal gunners in the league in the late 2000s, David was a walking basket in his stints with FedEx and Powerade, which also saw him steer the Tigers to the Finals of the 2012 Philippine Cup.

              Yet his reputation hardly mattered in Meralco as he slowly lost his touches and his minutes which led to him growing disgruntled and escalated to his suspension and eventual release on March 2016.

              Shortly after, San Miguel signed him up for the rest of the season, giving "El Granada" his best crack at a title.

              But it wasn't meant to be as the Beermen bowed out in the semifinals of the import-laden conferences, first to Rain or Shine in the Commissioner's Cup, and then to eventual champion Ginebra in the Governors' Cup.

              David was not re-signed the following season and instead went to Mahindra (now Columbian), before being waived six months later.

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                Know more of these "one-and-done" players in the PBA? Hit us up in the comments section.
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