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    Forty-five facts about the PBA as league celebrates 45th anniversary

    Apr 9, 2020
    PHOTO: screenshot from vintage coverage for robert jaworski

    APRIL 9, 1975 was a landmark day for sports in the country after the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) was formed, the first-ever professional basketball league in Asia. Since then, the league has become not just a basketball competition but also a source of entertainment for Filipinos over the years.

    As the league celebrates its 45th year, SPIN.ph came up with things that you may or may not know about the league that relates with the numbers 1 to 45. Even with the rich history of the league, believe us when we say it was hard to come up with a list.

    How about you? What’s your memorable moment in the PBA.

    PBA trivia


    The first player to score in the PBA was Joy Dionisio. Playing for Concepcion Carrier, Dionisio scored a lay-up in the first game of the league last April 9, 1975. However, Dionisio’s team bowed to Mariwasa, 101-98, in the opening game. Toyota, meanwhile, also came out winners in that playdate with a 105-101 victory over U-Tex.

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    The MVPs won by Abet Guidaben, the player with the most number of games in the PBA with 1,081 games.


    The number of MVPs won by William ‘Bogs’ Adornado, the first player to win the individual plum in 1975. He won it again in 1976 and 1981.

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    The number of MVPs won each by Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio, the previous high until June Mar Fajardo shattered the record. Fernandez won the award in 1982, 1984, 1986, and 1988, while Patrimonio copped the plum in 1991, 1993, 1994, and 1997.

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    Four is also the number of times Vergel Meneses won an All-Star MVP, doing the feat in 1995, 1998, 2000, and 2003.


    Jun Bernardino was the fifth commissioner of the PBA where he served the league for nine years, the longest ever.


    The number of times June Mar Fajardo won the PBA MVP in consecutive fashion, the most in history, surpassing Fernandez and Patrimonio. Over the course of his MVP seasons, Fajardo won eight PBA titles, and even grabbed a league record 31 rebounds in Game Seven of the 2019 Philippine Cup finals against Magnolia on May 15.

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    The number of Best Import awards Bobby Parks won in his PBA career. The award was later named after him.


    Based on the PBA Annual, the Philippine team served as guest team in eight seasons over the course of the 45 years of the PBA.


    The number of PBA teams in the first year of the PBA. They were Toyota, Crispa, U-Tex, Mariwasa, Concepcion Carrier, Royal Tru Orange, Tanduay, Presto, and 7-Up.


    Current PBA commissioner Willie Marcial is the 10th person to hold the position.

    Ten is also the number of steals Ryan Reyes had in a January 29, 2012 game against Powerade, the most in history.


    Norman Black has taken home 11 PBA titles as a coach and is the third tactician in the history of the league to win a Grand Slam when San Miguel claimed the rare feat in 1989.

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    The number of championships won by Barangay Ginebra, the most popular team in the PBA. The Gin Kings have won three All-Filipino/Philippine Cup crowns and nine titles in conferences with imports.


    The number of times Crispa won PBA titles, the most among teams that have disbanded from the league. The Redmanizers had a storied rivalry with Toyota in a tussle that created superstars for the league at that time. Crispa disbanded in 1984 a year after Toyota also left the league.


    The number of consecutive losses Shopinas suffered in the 2011-2012 Philippine Cup, the longest such streak in PBA history that occurred from October 5 to December 8, 2011.


    Virgilio ‘Baby’ Dalupan won 15 PBA titles for the Crispa Redmanizers, becoming the winningest coach before Tim Cone surpassed him. Dalupan also won a Grand Slam for the team in 1976. In winning the 1976 Grand Slam, Dalupan only lost 15 times.

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    The jersey number of Toyota cager Gil Cortez, the first player to win the Rookie of the Year in 1976.


    Allan Caidic converted a league record 17 three-pointers when he scored 79 points in Tivoli’s 162-149 victory over Ginebra in November 21, 1991.


    The number of points Shell scored at halftime in its match against Mobiline on May 3, 2000. Shell went on to score just 47 in its 32-point defeat, the lowest output ever in a game by a PBA team in history.

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    Crispa won 19 straight games from September 30 to December 9, 1980, considered the longest winning streak ever in PBA history.


    According to the PBA Annual, there are 20 franchises who have either disbanded or been sold. They are Barako Bull/Air21/Burger King/FedEx, Powerade/Coca-Cola, Sta. Lucia, Air21/Shopinas, Red Bull/Barako Bull, U-Tex, Pilipinas Shell, Sunkist/Sarsi/Pop Cola/Swift, Tanduay, Great Taste/CFC/Presto/Tivoli, Manila Beer/Beer Hausen, Toyota, Mariwasa/Noritake/Honda/Finance/Galerie Dominique, Seven-Up, Filmanbank, Carrier/Quasar/Fiberlite, Manhattan/Sunkist/Winston/Countryfair, Crispa, Tefilin, and Galleon/CDCP.


    The number of losses the San Miguel Beermen and Alaska Milkmen each had in their Grand Slam years in 1989 and 1996. With a 51-21 record, the 1996 Alaska team had the most wins among all teams which won the Grand Slam followed by the San Miguel squad in 1989 with a 50-21 mark.


    The number of titles Tim Cone has won in his coaching career, the most by any other mentor in the history of the PBA, that saw stints with Alaska, San Mig Coffee, and Barangay Ginebra.

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    Robert Jaworski played for 23 years in the PBA, the most in the history of the league. He played for Toyota before moving for Barangay Ginebra where he built the ‘Never Say Die’ mantra of the team that still exists to this day.


    The number of free throws Nelson Asaytono made in a July 2, 1992 game by Swift against Purefoods, the most in history. The Mighty Meaties lost, 110-106.

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    The first installment of the PBA’s greatest players were named in 2000 during the league’s 25th anniversary. The 25 were Johnny Abarrientos, Bogs Adornado, Ato Agustin, Francis Arnaiz, Ricardo Brown, Allan Caidic, Hector Calma, Philip Cezar, Atoy Co, Jerry Codinera, Kenneth Duremdes, Bernie Fabiosa, Ramon Fernandez, Danny Florencio, Abet Guidaben, Freddie Hubalde, Robert Jaworski, Jojo Lastimosa, Lim Eng Beng, Samboy Lim, Ronnie Magsanoc, Vergel Meneses, Manny Paner, Alvin Patrimonio, and Benjie Paras.

    Danny Ildefonso, Willie Miller, James Yap, Asi Taulava, Eric Menk, Kelly Williams, Jayjay Helterbrand, Jimmy Alapag, Mark Caguioa, Arwind Santos, Jayson Castro, Marc Pingris, Kerby Raymundo, Chito Loyzaga, and Marlou Aquino later joined the 40 greatest in 2015.

    Here's our take on the 25 greatest PBA players.

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    Founding commissioner Leo Prieto served the league for eight years where 26 conferences were held from 1975 to 1983.


    The number of championships the San Miguel Beermen have in their stint in the PBA that began since the league’s inception in 1975. The franchise has the most number of titles in the league with Alaska and Magnolia a far second with 14.


    Eugene Quilban collected a league-record 28 assists for 7-Up in its 123-100 win over Shell on August 9, 1992.


    The winning margin of Ginebra when it scored the most number of points in history with 197 in its game against Great Taste on November 21, 1985.


    The number of games San Mig Coffee lost when it captured the Grand Slam in the 2013-2014 season. The winning percentage of .577 was the lowest among the Grand Slam teams but the Mixers still got the job done to make it to the history books. San Mig Coffee beat Rain or Shine twice and Talk ‘N Text during that year, giving head coach Tim Cone the second Grand Slam of his coaching career.

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      The age of Benjie Paras when he won his second MVP in 1999. In a year that saw an influx of Fil-foreigners, Paras preserved his feat of becoming the only player to win the MVP and Rookie of the Year on the same year after he did it in 1989.

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      Ginebra scored 32 consecutive points in the fourth quarter on its way to a 116-90 win over Shell on May 14, 1991. That 32-0 blast was most number of points scored consecutively and unanswered in the history of the league.


      Michael Hackett had 33 points in the third quarter of Ginebra’s 197-168 win over Great Taste on November 21, 1985. That was the most number of points scored by an import in a quarter, with Hackett eventually finishing with 103, a league record back then.


      LA Tenorio of Barangay Ginebra was 34 years old when he played his 597th consecutive game, surpassing Alvin Patrimonio as the league’s Iron Man on March 18, 2019.

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      The number of All-Star games the PBA has played. This includes the Rookies, Sophomores, Juniors vs. Veterans, and North vs. South formats, and the recent three-leg All-Star matches held in 2017 and 2018.


      It was in the 36th season (2010-2011) of the PBA where the league reverted to the old three-conference format – the Philippine Cup, Commissioner’s Cup, and Governors’ Cup.


      The combined number of losses Talk ‘N Text and San Miguel had in a three-year stretch in the Philippine Cup after both teams were able to capture the Perpetual Trophy in 2013 and 2017 respectively. The Tropang Texters had a 60-19 record from 2011 to 2013, while the Beermen collected a 53-18 mark from 2015 to 2017.

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      The trophy later named as the Jun Bernardino Trophy was kept permanently by both teams for winning three consecutive titles in the most prestigious conference of the league.


      The number of two-point attempts Paul Alvarez had when he scored a then-record 71 points in Alaska’s 169-138 win over Shell. Alvarez converted 31 two-pointers in that game, a league high.


      The number of minutes Terrence Romeo played when he scored a league-record 48 points in the All-Star Game Luzon leg in 2018 in the Smart All-Stars 152-149 win over the PBA All-Stars in Batangas City. Romeo won his third All-Star MVP in the contest.


      There are only five 4-0 sweeps in the history of the PBA. The winning teams were Northern Consolidated (against Manila Beer) in the 1985 Reinforced Conference, Swift (against 7-Up) in the 1992 Third Conference, Purefoods (against Alaska) in the 2009-2010 Philippine Cup, Talk ‘N Text (against Rain or Shine) in the 2012-2013 Philippine Cup, and San Miguel (against Alaska) in the 2015 Governors’ Cup.

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      There are 19 4-1 finals victories under a best-of-seven format in PBA history.


      A 4-2 finals series victory occurred 33 times in the history of the PBA, the most in seven-game finals formats.


      There have been 26 Game Sevens (4-3 series wins) in the history of the PBA finals including five straight from the 2007 Fiesta Conference to the 2009 Fiesta Conference.


      The jersey number of Jerry Codiñera, who holds the record for All-Defensive Team selections with nine. The "Defense Minister" also holds the record for blocks in a game with 11 in a match won by Purefoods over San Miguel, 126-94, last October 3, 1989.


      The number of free throw conversions Swift import Tony Harris made when he scored a league-high 105 points in their 151-147 win over Ginebra in Iloilo on October 10, 1992. Aside from that record-setting free throw mark, Harris also hit 21 two-pointers and six three-pointers in that historic game.

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      PHOTO: screenshot from vintage coverage for robert jaworski
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