The List: Top 10 Point Guards in PBA History

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The List: Top 10 Point Guards in PBA History

Post by Ginebra Tambayan on Fri May 18, 2012 10:42 am

The List: Top 10 Point Guards in PBA History
Jaemark Tordecilla, with Jay P. Mercado · Thursday, March 29, 2012 · 6:57 pm

With an average height of just 5-foot-4, it only makes sense for
basketball-crazy Philippines to produce thousands, if not millions, of
point guards. In this week’s edition of The List, we count down the ten
best point guards to ever play in the PBA.

As always, before we get to the top ten, here are some honorable mentions:

Willie Generalao

“The General” was the PBA’s Rookie of the Year in 1980, starting at
point guard for the pre-Robert Jaworski era Gilbey’s Gin. He was
displaced from the team after Jaworski and Francis Arnaiz joined the
franchise that eventually became Ginebra. Generalao enjoyed a lot of
success at the helm of powerhouse Tanduay teams in the mid ’80s.

Al Solis

Solis joined the league with Shell in 1987, before making his mark as
a solid backup at both guard positions for Purefoods. His transfer to
Yeng Guiao’s Sarsi paved the way for the best years of his career;
starting at point guard gave him the exposure to make the Mythical First
Team in 1992 and 1993. He ranks third in all-time three-pointers made
in the league behind Allan Caidic and Ronnie Magsanoc with a cool total
of 1,000 treys.

Gerry Esplana

A second-round pick by Presto, Esplana stole the spotlight from his
teammate, top pick Apet Jao, to win that season’s Rookie of the Year
award. He was starting point guard for three different franchises:
Presto, Sta. Lucia, and Shell, two of which he helped to an All-Filipino

Marte Saldaña

“The Mighty Mite” was one of the most fearsome small men to ever step
foot on the PBA court. He led San Miguel to an upset of Crispa in the
1982 Open Conference en route to winning the Rookie of the Year plum. He
would have been higher up on the list had injuries slow him down in the
latter part of his career.

10. Olsen Racela

PBA/Nuki Sabio

It’s hard to fathom now, but Racela almost didn’t make it to the PBA.
He was drafted in the second round by Coney Island in 1993, and was
signed by Chot Reyes to serve as just a practice player. Several days
before the start of the season, the team’s third-string point guard Rudy
Enterina signed with Ginebra, opening up a spot for the former Ateneo
point guard.

Rah-Rah Racela stole minutes with his hustle play, but never stopped
improving his game. He transformed from a bit player into one of the
league’s headiest floor generals after his transfer to San Miguel in
1997. He left the game not just as one of the league’s best point
guards, but one of its most beloved players.

9. Dindo Pumaren

Because he spent most of his playing years in the shadows of
superstars Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codiñera, Dindo Pumaren has had an
underrated PBA career. After being an all-around superstar with La
Salle in college, he transformed himself into the quintessential
pass-first, defensive point guard in the pros. He ranks third in the PBA
all-time assists list behind just Robert Jaworski and Ramon Fernandez,
and fifth all-time in steals.

8. Bernie Fabiosa

One of the PBA’s first “pure” point guards, Bernie Fabiosa was
nicknamed “Tough Job,” an apt description for a guy who had to guard
guys like Robert Jaworski and Francis Arnaiz on defense, while rationing
the ball to Crispa’s cadre of shooters on offense. Even though his
statistics did not exactly glow, everyone who knew basketball also knew
that Fabiosa was the engine that drove the Redmanizers’ attack.

7. Ronnie Magsanoc

Before Ronnie Magsanoc, PBA point guards shot three-pointers, but they did not rain three-pointers. His 1990 season ranks among the best seasons of a point guard in league history; at one point during the All-Filipino conference, he was averaging 29.7 points and 9.3 assists per game on 47.3% shooting from the three-point line. Read those numbers again.

Sure, the game was much faster then and had more possessions, and featured less sophisticated defense, but still.

Injuries slowed him down over the next decade, and Magsanoc never
duplicated that brilliance again. But for those who saw the “Point
Laureate” in his prime, it was pure poetry.

6. Jayjay Helterbrand

PBA/Nuki Sabio

In 2009, Helterbrand became the first point guard since Johnny
Abarrientos to win the league’s highest honors. Fittingly, it came
during the season that his backcourt buddy Mark Caguioa missed.
Helterbrand put the team on his back and put together one of the finest
performances for an undermanned Ginebra franchise, which narrowly lost
in the 2009 Fiesta Conference to sister team San Miguel.

Helterbrand injured himself in that finals series, and one could
argue that he has never been the same since. But his efforts that year
were enough to etch his name into the record books forever.

5. Jimmy Alapag

AKTV/Paul Ryan Tan

People may question his Most Valuable Player award last season, but
no one can question the size of the heart of “The Mighty Mouse”. He made
a splash in 2003, winning Rookie of the Year honors after shockingly
falling to the 10th spot in the draft, and has been the league’s best
point guard for the better part of the decade. Age may have slowed him
down, but he remains the heart and soul of a Talk ‘N Text team that has
won the PBA title in three of the last four tournaments.

4. Hector Calma

His numbers may be modest, but Hector Calma remains the epitome of
pure Philippine point guard play. Fans who remember his heyday still
speak in hushed tones about how “The Director” can control games without
taking a single shot, how he can dominate the game with his mind rather
than his body. His professional career was relatively short,
considering he was already 26 years old when he joined Magnolia in 1986 —
but his impact on the PBA can still be felt to this day.

3. Johnny Abarrientos

“The Flying A” is perhaps the most dominant small man the PBA has
ever seen. He was engine of the mid-’90s Alaska dynasty, becoming the
smallest recipient of the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 1996.
Never before had a man listed generously at 5-foot-7 struck such fear in
the hearts of opponents.

When the Aces gave up on him, he continued his winning ways with the
Coca-Cola Tigers and the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. His quickness is
still the stuff of legends — he is the PBA’s all-time leader in steals —
and his passing ain’t too shabby either, as he is fourth in the
all-time list.

2. Ricky Brown

Courtesy of Ricky Brown

As the first Filipino-American PBA star, Ricky Brown helped usher in a
new generation of players to take over the league’s pioneers. As a big,
quick guard with hot outside shooting hands, he helped transform guard
play in the PBA and upped the level of the game. He retired abruptly
after the 1989 season, but not before winning the 1983 Rookie of the
Year award and the 1985 Most Valuable Player trophy.

His 23.1 points per game average is still the best in the history of the league, as is his 7.3 assists per game norm.

1. Robert Jaworski

Robert Jaworski of Toyota

When talking about the Big J, we spend so much time talking about the
impact of his intangibles — so let’s turn that on its head and talk
about his tangibles.

He remains the PBA’s all-time leader in assists. As a guard, he is
sixth all-time in rebounds. He is third in PBA history in most games
played, which becomes more impressive when you consider the fact that he
was already 29 years old when the league played its first game in 1975.

In 1978, he won the Most Valuable Player plum by posting perhaps the
finest individual season in league history. He averaged 20 points, 12
rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game en route to leading Toyota to two
titles. He was the team’s leading local rebounder despite having
superstar center Mon Fernandez on his team, and did it when the PBA did
not impose a height limit on imports.

In 1988, at the tender age of 42 years old, he scored 28 points for
Añejo in a game-clinching victory in the All-Filipino conference over

Put it this way: the PBA will probably see another dominant small man
like Johnny Abarrientos and a complete Filipino-American guard like
Ricky Brown. But there will never, ever be another Robert Jaworski.

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Re: The List: Top 10 Point Guards in PBA History

Post by MR. FAST on Fri May 18, 2012 2:47 pm

Put it this way: the PBA will probably see another dominant small man like Johnny Abarrientos and a complete Filipino-American guard like
Ricky Brown. But there will never, ever be another Robert Jaworski.

Nag-iisa lang yan si TATANG

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