10 for 2010s: The Best Teams of the Decade

Dec 28, 2019

INDIVIDUALS win awards, but teams win championships. It's a truth proven time and again, and this decade was no exception.

We've seen our fair share of good teams, but only a few can call themselves great.

Lucky for you, Spin.ph did that job and weeded out the best among the best, selecting the decade's 10 best teams in Philippine sports.

Take note that this list covers the years from 2010 to 2019 only and the order does not necessarily imply their respective ranks. Our apologies to those who got left out.

2015-2019 San Miguel Beermen

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Eight PBA championships in five seasons, need we say more?

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San Miguel was a team brimming with talent, but it wasn't until the arrival of coach Leo Austria in 2014 that all the firepower translated into success.

June Mar Fajardo is the unassuming center figure for the Beermen, but he'd be the first to say the dynastic run wouldn't have been possible if not for his peers, bannered by former MVP Arwind Santos, and fellow Mythical Team members Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter.

Talent may help teams contend, but finding the right balance separates the good from the great. San Miguel exactly found just that.

2014 San Mig Coffee Mixers

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Compare this team to the other grand slam teams and easily, San Mig Coffee doesn't look anywhere as dominant. But what made it stand out is that it knows when to get things done.

Never has the Coffee Mixers finished higher than fourth in this season, yet coach Tim Cone has mastered the art of load management, picking their spots before being at their best come playoff time.

James Yap, Peter June Simon, and Marc Pingris led the fight, but this string of success also trickled down to the solid contributions provided by veterans Rafi Reavis and Joe Devance and the emergence of future stars like Mark Barroca and Ian Sangalang.

2013-14 Gilas Pilipinas

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Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) sent a strong statement of unity with an all-pro team coached by Chot Reyes following the abolition of the all-amateur Smart Gilas crew.

And boy, did the team deliver as Gilas Pilipinas trotted out the best Philippine team at that time captained by Jimmy Alapag, together with veterans LA Tenorio and Marc Pingris. Stars of tomorrow were also well represented, with Jayson Castro, Japeth Aguilar, and June Mar Fajardo all in the squad.

The results speak for themselves, the team winning the silver medal in the 2013 Fiba Asia Championship here in Manila before taking its act to the 2014 Fiba World Cup in Spain, the country's first since 1978.

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2010-2014 San Beda Red Lions

Coaches change, but winning don't. That's the story of the San Beda's five-peat team earlier this decade.

The Red Lions started out with Frankie Lim when they reclaimed their title and won back-to-back crowns, before a league suspension forced them to replace him with Ronnie Magsanoc. After a season, Boyet Fernandez came and finished the job to achieve the rare feat.

Yet through all the changes, what San Beda boasted was a solid core, forged by winning tradition.

Look at the players who once donned those red-and-whites: Garvo Lanete, Jake Pascual, Dave Marcelo, Art dela Cruz, Baser Amer, and the Semerad twins Anthony and David. All have made it to the PBA, and since then, were built for greatness. Add to that its foreign student-athletes Sudan Daniel and Ola Adeogun and you got one of the best collegiate teams this decade has seen.

Adamson Lady Falcons softball

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No team can compare to the dominance that Adamson Lady Falcons has had in the UAAP softball tournaments in this decade, winning the past nine titles.

So dominant was the Ana Santiago-coached squad that it went unbeaten for 73 straight games, a then-UAAP record, from 2010 to 2016.

From the days of Rizza Bernardino, Annalie Benjamen, and Queeny Sabobo to Angelie Ursabia, Arianne Vallestero, and Lyca Basa, it's no surprise that majority of the national players have once roamed the walls of San Marcelino.

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NU Lady Bulldogs

History was rewritten by National University this decade as the Lady Bulldogs turned from doormats to juggernauts under the tutelage of coach Pat Aquino.

The likes of Afril Bernardino and Gemma Miranda laid the foundation for NU's dynastic run as it went on to not only down opponents to win six straight championships, but also did it in immaculate fashion, going unbeaten in 96 games straight.

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And they look like they're not stopping anytime soon even after the graduation of Ria Nabalan, Jack Animam, Monique del Carmen, and Kaye Pingol, with the future already in the capable hands of Camille Clarin and Angel Surada.

La Salle Lady Spikers

Ramil de Jesus has long been considered as one of the top volleyball coaches in the country, and his handiwork in Taft is enough proof.

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With the exception of this past UAAP season, the La Salle Lady Spikers have always been regular fixtures in the finals, winning six championships in the 2010s behind a killer list of players who donned the familiar green-and-whites.

Cha Cruz, Aby Marano, Ara Galang, Kim Fajardo, Dawn Macandili, Majoy Baron, and Kim Dy, the list could go on and on. Those players were responsible in La Salle's pair of three-peats from 2011 to 2013 and from 2016 to 2018, establishing the Lady Spikers' entry in this list.

Team Lakay

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No other gym could boast the success Team Lakay has had in this decade.

Showing that Filipino warriors can stand with some of the best MMA fighters in the world, coach Mark Sangiao trained some of his best wushu practitioners and turned them into a major force to be reckoned with in the brutal sport.

What followed was an amazing string of success, trotting out six world champions led by two-time ONE Lightweight Champion Eduard Folayang and reigning ONE Strawweight Champion Joshua Pacio, including an amazing 2018 where the Benguet-based stable had four champions in ONE Championship alone, not to mention Stephen Loman winning the Brave Bantamweight title.

Ceres-Negros FC

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In an uncertain landscape for Philippine football, it was Ceres-Negros FC which held the torch as the Bacolod-based club provided the shining light for the sport that was earlier held by Global FC.

The club made it to the knockout rounds of the 2016 AFC Cup behind Spanish striker Adrian Gallardo.

The best, however, was yet to come for Ceres as Stephan Schrock and Bienvenido Maranon arrived a year later and won the ASEAN Zone championship over Singaporean side Home United. In 2018, the Busmen completed a massive upset of Australian side Brisbane Roar in the AFC Champions League before they made it to the ASEAN Zonal Final in the AFC Cup.

On home soil, the Leo Rey Yanson-owned squad also won three PFL crowns and a Copa Double for winning the 2019 Copa Paulino Alcantara.

SEA Games Team Philippines

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They won as one, indeed.

Despite all the controversies surrounding the preparations for the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the Filipino athletes made the country's hosting of the biennial meet a memorable one.

A total of 149 gold, 117 silver, and 121 bronze medals were placed around Team Philippines' necks as the country emerged as the overall champion of the regional conclave for only the second time.

From favorites like Hidilyn Diaz, EJ Obiena, and Gilas Pilipinas, crowd darlings like Caloy Yulo, Agatha Wong, and Margielyn Didal, to inspiring stories like surfer Roger Casugay rescuing his Indonesian foe before winning gold in the men's longboard, it was a fitting end to what has been a roller-coaster decade for Philippine sports.

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