WHEN Anthony Williams became the first foreign student-athlete to win MVP honors in the UAAP back in 1981, Glenn Capacio was one of his teammates in a powerhouse Far Eastern University squad that won back-to-back championships.
Years later, Capacio once again stood witness as another foreigner in Ben Mbala lifted the MVP trophy.
It has been 35 years since the UAAP last saw a foreign player win the MVP plum in Williams, who had Capacio as one of his teammates back then. Capacio, ironically, is now the consultant at La Salle where Mbala is strutting his wares.
However, Capacio, a longtime national player and PBA star, said there is no point comparing the two players.
Williams, who Capacio said stood at 6-foot-5, was an American student at FEU who had raw basketball skills and was only recruited by the varsity because of his height.
Williams, according to Capacio, improved immensely when he started training with the Tamaraws, who at that time were coached by Turo Valenzona.
“Through the years, nag-improve si Williams kasi maganda naman programa namin sa FEU. Naturuan ng magagaling na coaches,” said Capacio.
At that time, Capacio said no one was a more imposing figure in the UAAP than Williams, who made up for his perceived lack of skills with hustle.
“More on five (center) at four (power forward) siya. Nung time na ‘yun mga 6-4, 6-5 siya, hindi naman siya dominating. Nakaka-contribute kasi may athleticism. Hindi siya ganun ka-skilled pero sa hustle, nakakakuha ng offensive rebound at putback,” said Capacio.
Capacio said Williams was able to score since no one was taller or stronger than him back then.
“Nagta-top score rin kasi malaki. Bihira nung time na ‘yun na malaki. Advantage talaga siya. Hindi pa uso weights nun pero malaki na siya,” Capacio said.
Led by Williams and Capacio, FEU captured the 1981 crown when the Tamaraws beat University of the East to complete a 12-game sweep of the tournament.
That was the last season for Williams as a Tamaraw but FEU would regain UAAP supremacy in 1983 with Capacio winning the MVP.
Having seen the two, Capacio said there is no question who was the better player.
“Hindi naman siya dominating,” Capacio recalled of his former teammate Williams. “Estudyante siya na malaki. Dun na natuto sa team, hindi katulad ni Ben (Mbala) na magaling na talaga.”