MEMBERS of the 1973 Asian Basketball Confederation squad led by skipper Jimmy Mariano and the heroes of the 1986 crew led by Samboy Lim will honor Gilas-Pilipinas mainstays in the PBA Press Corps’ 'A Banquet of Heroes' Awards Night on Tuesday at Wack Wack.
Mariano, the sweet-shooting former University of the East Warrior, was the captain of the Philippine team that dominated the competition in the ABC 40 years ago, which was the last time the country hosted the event that is the forerunner of the Fiba-Asia Championship.
Last August, Gilas-Pilipinas finished second in the 27th Fiba-Asia and earned a trip back to the World Championship which will be held in Spain next year.
The affair, which will start at 7 p.m. at Banquet B of the exclusive club, will also honor the Coach of the Year and the Executive of the Year of the past PBA Season.
Team PBA, led by commissioner Chito Salud and past chair Robert Non and composed of all team owners and league staff, is the leading contender for the Executive of the Year award, named after the late Danny Floro of the legendary Crispa team.
Salud and Non spearheaded the PBA to a smashing year at the gates and the team owners, led by Talk ‘N Text and Meralco big boss Manny V. Pangilinan, are in the group for lending their players to the Gilas-Pilipinas Five.
Pangilinan also bankrolled the Gilas squad and the business tycoon has been invited by the PBAPC to join the nationals in the event that will be emceed by Sev Sarmenta, Quinito Henson and Erika Padilla.
Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee, is the leading contender for the Defensive Player of the Year trophy, while June Mar Fajardo of Petron Blaze and Alaska’s Calvin Abueva are shoo-ins for the All-Rookie Team.
The Comeback Player of the Year, named after the William “Bogs” Adornado, will also be named. Adornado will also be present in the affair as part of the 1973 team.