PBA FAB@40: Put Controversy to Rest

Danny Ildefonso and Danny Seigle (ODL Property)
Danny Ildefonso and Danny Seigle (ODL Property)

The highly criticized 15 additions to the list of PBA Greatest Players have finally been added in a ceremony held at the Newport Theater in Pasay City last night.

To recap, the new additions included Kelly Williams, Chito Loyzaga, Kerby Williams, Willie Miller, Jayson Castro, Danny Ildefonso, Eric Menk, Arwind Santos, Jayjay Helterbrand, Marc Pingris, James Yap, Mark Caguioa, Jimmy Alapag, Asi Taulava and Marlou Aquino.

They thus joined the first batch of 25 players led no less by former coach and senator Robert Jaworski Jr. There were some who were obviously not in the country thus unable to attend the ceremony but there were some who reportedly did not attend on purpose in what is becoming a growing issue with regards to the selection of the next 15 players to be named to the elite list.

Apparently the selection process is under scrutiny, particularly their criteria for doing so.

For MVPs Only

Many had questioned why active players were included from the selection process. Though players like Danny Ildefonso, Asi Taulava, Erik Menk, Jayjay Helterbrand could be exceptions, critics and PBA fans are wondering why players like Jayson Castro, Marc Pingris and Arwind Santos were included. Surely these players have more years ahead and yet they were named to the elite group.

One criteria reportedly used was that of players who have won the Most Valuable Player award. And apparently that is the reason why Castro and Santos were named. Pingris on the other hand needs not justification. He has been an instrumental part of Gilas Pilipinas on numerous occasions.

So does this mean in general that a player is assured of a slot to the PBA Greatest Players circle once he cops an MVP award? Well it most certainly looks like it.

With the criteria (which is of course none of our business), all folks can do now is respect the decision-making process. What’s done is done.

The Snubbed Players

But what about players who have starred during their time? Arnie Tuadles, Abe King, Nelson Asaytono, Olsen Racela or Danny Seigle. These guys had their share of the limelight but never won the MVP award.

However when they played, it was all out. These guys were never about the money. They took the big shots and carried their respective teams on their shoulders when it mattered the most.

Asaytono is perhaps the best example. After initially playing behind the shadows of Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera and Jojo Lastimosa, Asaytono was a reliable sixth man that came off the bench and did wonders.

When he left Purefoods, he was a one-man wrecking machine. Best known as “The Bull”, Asaytono could shoot the lights out and make dazzling plays and break away dunks. He was one player who has never won an MVP but was always among the contenders.

Tuadles had his shining moments with the defunct Toyota franchise, so with Abe King known then as the Chairman of the Boards. If you weren’t able to see them, Pinoy Xtreme is a good source to watch on cable television, particularly in Cignal. Though there is no definite date on when Toyota or Great Taste games were shown, you are bound to see what these guys did to wow the crowd.

Olsen Racela needs no elaboration. He rose to be one of the premier point guards of the PBA who typified the never-say-die spirit though he never got the chance to strut his wares for crowd-darling Ginebra.

Danny Seigle? The guy could have won an MVP award if not for various injuries. These injuries were sustained because he played hard. But the most serious one was when he suffered that torn Achilles while trying to represent the country. So doesn’t that count?

These are just some of the rants by fans and social media users right now and such is expected to go on for the next couple of weeks. It will eventually die down but the PBA selection committee may need to tweak the selection process a bit.

Garnering an MVP award is a valid move but then again, it may be wise to evaluate a player for his overall contribution to the league. An MVP award does not entirely follow that a player has done all that. No names to be mentioned out of respect to the list of MVPs.

Revising the selection process

The individuals that were chosen to be part of the PBA’s Greatest Players are undoubtedly something that can be compared to a beauty pageant or even a president who selects his cabinet. There will always be controversies, criticism and scrutiny.

But the fact of the matter is that what is done is done. That is what the PBA has followed and being mere fans, we can just sit back and follow their lead. They are calling the shots so let us respect the decision even if we do not fully agree with it.

What if the Undeserving Passed it up?

On a personal note, garnering such a distinction is indeed an honor and rare. I for one had hoped that anyone (if not all) who felt they didn’t deserve the award would delay accepting such since they can still do with future additions to the list.

It never happened and well, it would have been something. Sadly, the award is more important rather than thinking about the people who actually deserved it the most. From this end, it is not a shot at the PBA but at some of the younger players who would have hopefully considered that thought.

Apparently they feel they deserve it though in the minds of others….. well, I leave the rest of that phrase up to you. Was it that good to pass up and consider sacrificing their slot in lieu of the retired ones?

Well it seems that way.