ROLLY Manlapaz wasn't exactly sure how Calvin Abueva would react the first time he called him by another name over the public-address system inside The Arena in San Juan. Not everyone, afterall, appreciates being called a 'Beast.'
To his surprise, a young Abueva loved it.
“I thought at first he wouldn’t like the sound of 'The Beast,'" Manlapaz recalled as he sat down for an interview with Spin.ph. "But after a few games, he got used to it and now he’s proud to be called 'The Beast.'"
'The Beast' is just one of dozens of monikers this nameless coliseum barker has bestowed on players in more than a decade and a half of working games over the PA system in the amateur and college leagues.
Some of the monikers he came up with have become more popular than the names the players were baptized with; some failed to stick. Some monikers were right on the money; some others went overboard.
“It just comes out. I don’t know,” he said.
The deep-voiced Communication Arts graduate from Ateneo was also responsible for christening Nino Canaleta as 'KG,' no doubt because of his resemblance to Kevin Garnett, Rico Villanueva as 'The Raging Bull,' and Ronald Tubid as 'The Saint.'
Manlapaz can also claim credit for the odd monikers of former National University Bulldog Joseph 'The Fly' Lingao-Lingao and Jerome 'The Umbrella Man' Tungcul. The amusing stories behind those nicknames, though, can be told another time.
More recently, Manlapaz has started giving second names to popular volleyball players, among them Ateneo's Ella 'The Ella-vator' de Jesus and Fille 'Princess Eagle' Cainglet.
But none of those monikers has stuck more than the one name that popped into his mind the moment he saw this athletically gifted rookie play with boundless energy and reckless abandon for San Sebastian.
'The Beast' simply fit Abueva to a T.
“When he was a rookie with San Sebastian, Abueva was playing like a monster inside the court. He was playing court to court,” Manlapaz recalled.
"Abueva was playing somewhat what you would call in the days of (Sonny) Jaworski as a utility man: He could play center, he could play guard; he could play forward.
“He just played like an animal. He played like a beast.”
Since then, 'The Beast' has become synonymous to Abueva - hollered by fans after each spectacular play from the Alaska rookie, repeated over and over again by TV commentators, and the inspiration for several play of words by headline writers both online and on print media.
Manlapaz said he has coined several other monikers from the time he started his career with the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) in 1998, to the time he moved to the Philippine Basketball League (PBL), PBA, the UAAP basketball and volleyball matches, and the NCAA.
He has also taken his act to boxing matches ala Michael Buffer, once working a Manny Pacquiao fight in 1999. But he stopped in 2006 because, he laughed, "it’s so hard to bring your coat and tie all the time. It’s so hot.”
The former disc jockey, however, said he has stopped the 'name-calling' in the PBA six years ago on orders of officials.
“Before when I was new with the PBA, I used to do a lot of monikers, everyone,” said Manlapaz. “I try to forget them already because I might be tempted to say them again in the PBA.”
Still, monster monikers like 'The Beast' guarantees that 'The Name Maker's' legacy will continue to live on.