NOSTALGIA was in the air on Sunday as the rare appearance of PBA greats and old-timers gave the 'Return of the Rivals' games a homecoming feel.
A sellout crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum were thrilled to see old faces both on the floor and on the bench for the throwback games that pitted Alaska greats against San Miguel legends and Ginebra old-timers against Purefoods greats.
League greats who are rarely seen on the legends circuit were among the most applauded, among them Jojo Lastimosa, Jeff Cariaso and Kenneth Duremdes of Alaska and Bong Alvarez and Nelson Asaytono at San Miguel.
The reunion feel wasn't confined to the court.
Even former coaches and staffers came out in full force for Alaska, which was led on the bench by longtime Tim Cone assistants Aric del Rosario and Joel Banal- all garbed in the Aces' traditional long sleeves and tie.
They were joined by former league referee and longtime Alaska utility Tom 'Tenga' Urbano, current Alaska governor Dickie Bachmann team doctor Facundo Sun.
Over at San Miguel, the patriarch of the Pumaren basketball family, Pilo, called the shots with Jong Uichico. Both were longtime assistants of Norman Black and the late Ron Jacobs. Uichico later was elevated to head coach.
To complete the event's throwback feel, veteran broadcasters Andy 'Dr. J' Jao and Sev Sarmenta called the games for UNTV while US-based former deejay Vince St. Price served as coliseum barker.