PBA legends gear up for historic rival teams’ exhibition game on February 17

UNTV News   •   February 11, 2019   •   5368

Some of the former professional basketball players of the Philippine Basketball Association
who will play for the “Return of the Rivals”, a charity event of the PBA Legends Foundation, UNTV and PBA on February 17, 2019 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. (Fred Alvior / Photoville International)

Philippine basketball fans will once again get to see their hard-court heroes who have kept Filipinos’ passion for basketball burning for decades.

Dubbed as the ‘Return of the Rivals,’ PBA Legends of the 90s will face off anew in an exhibition game slated on February 17 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The game will feature the prominent archrivals in Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) history: the San Miguel Beer versus Alaska Milk and the Barangay Ginebra against the Purefoods Hotdogs.

“It is really nice to be back on the court again with the players na nakakalaban namin before na hindi kami naglaro for a long time. So magsasama ulit kami and it’s really nice to be part of this project na pinangunahan ni Kuya Daniel (It is really nice to be back on the court again with the players that we have played against before. After a long time, we will be able to play with them again and it’s really nice to be a part of this project led by Kuya Daniel Razon),” former Alaska player Jojo “Jolas” “Mr. Clutch” Lastimosa said.

Former Purefoods player, Alvin “The Captain” Patrimonio echoed the excitement.

“It’s really a blessing kasi nagsama-sama ulit. Parang reunion ulit with the players, former players. Tapos ang kalaban mo ay ‘yung rival mo nung panahon. So, talagang excited and talagang nagpe-prepare lahat for this big event (It’s really a blessing because we’re together again. It’s like a reunion for us. Then, we get to play with our rival teams from before. We are really excited and we are really preparing for this big event).”

PBA legends participating in the game have been preparing for their big reunion, promising to bring fun and excitement to the viewers.

Former Alaska point guard, Johnny “The Flying A” Abarrientos explained the sense of fulfillment that the game brings.

“Yung fulfillment kasi ito ‘yung passion ng mga PBA Legends, ‘yung makabalik ulit, makapag-perform, makita ng fans na we can still play. Sobra, sobra kaming thankful (It is fulfilling because this is the passion of the PBA Legends: to be able to play again, to show the fans that we can still play. We are so very thankful).”

For Lastimosa, the raised stakes will reignite the competitive spirit of old rivals.

“Sa ngayon, nagsasabi sila na we’re not out there to win, pero pagdating sa court niyan, walang magpapatalo niyan especially na may matatanggap ‘yung winning team. I think the competitive side of the players will come out eventually pagdating naming sa court (For now, some say we’re not out there to win. But when the game starts the competitiveness will kick in, especially since there’s a price at stake for the winning team. I think the competitive side of the players will come out eventually on the court),”

Bonel “The Gentle Giant” Balingit of Purefoods Hotdogs recalled their heydays.

“Siguro noong panahon ang basketball, halos lahat galing probinsya. Tapos hindi pa ganoon ka-high-tech din ‘yung paggamot ‘nung mga injury. ‘Pag galing sa probinsya, pinapagpag lang, okay na (Back in the day, most of the PBA players were from province. Treatment of injuries were not that advanced yet. In the province, you just pick yourself up and dust yourself off).”

But beyond the excitement and entertainment, the Return of the Rivals project serves a more noble purpose — giving assistance to former professional basketball players who are sick or have medical concerns.

The said basketball charity event is a project of the Samahan ng mga Dating Propesyonal na Basketbolista sa Pilipinas Foundation Incorporated, in cooperation with the Philippine Basketball Association or PBA and UNTV.

The idea of forming the group started in April 2015 wherein an exhibition game was staged between several PBA Legends and the UNTV Cup All Stars.

“Well, we’re so thankful kay Kuya Daniel, without him, without UNTV, this wouldn’t be possible. In fact, napakalaking utang na loob naming sa kaniya kasi siya ang nag-spearhead at nag-push sa amin to form this foundation two years ago and he even donated one million for the seed money. Saludo ako kay Kuya Daniel. Maraming maraming Salamat Kuya Daniel. We owe you big time,” San Miguel Beer’s Trigger Man Allan Caidic said.

(We are so thankful to Kuya Daniel Razon. Without him, without UNTV, this charity endeavor wouldn’t be possible. In fact he spearheaded and pushed us to form the PBA Legends foundation two years ago and he even donated one million for the seed money. I salute Kuya Daniel, thank you very much. We owe you big time.)

“Sana naman ay sa mga darating na ibang legends ay sana gawin ulit ni Mr. Daniel ito mabuting project para sa kapuwa nating manlalaro rin,” Ginebra’s Joey Loyzaga said.

(I hope Mr. Daniel Razon will continue this noble project with the future PBA Legends for the benefit of our fellow basketball players in need.)

The players are inviting the public to support the Return of the Rivals exhibition game, which will also be aired in UNTV.

“Sa lahat po ng mga fanatic at naniniwala pa po na kaya pa pong maglaro ng mga players ng Return of the Rivals, suportahan ninyo pong muli kami this coming February 17 at Araneta Coliseum,” Abarrientos invited.

(To all of our fans, to those who still believe that we can still play, let’s watch the Return of the Rivals on February 17 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.) — Asher Cadapan Jr / UNTV News and Rescue

Classic match: Alaska topples San Miguel in UNTV Cup PBA Legends face-off

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Fans went wild at Smart Araneta Coliseum on Monday (July 8) as the Milkmen served the Beermen their first taste of defeat at the conclusion of UNTV Cup Off PBA Legends off-season games.

Even the Legends themselves were amazed to feel their old aggressive self coming back to life just like the good old days as they hit the hardcourt.

“Believe it or not, iyong intensity noong nasa dulo (the intensity through the end of the game) it felt like the 90s again,” exclaimed Alaska’s Jojo “Mr. Clutchman” Lastimosa.

“So it was just like going back in time for the times. We were here 20 years ago, 25 years ago, the feeling was the same although a bit slower but the competition was there, the intensity was there,” he said.

“Sa totoo lang na-miss ko din talaga (Honestly, I missed [playing] so much),” said Kiko Adriano of San Miguel.

“The last time I played siguro 2008. Ito talaga ang ano ng player, iyong pride (This is the pride of a player) although medyo lack kami duon sa players pero up to the last na oras talagang laban pa rin (though we lack players but up to the last hour we continued fighting),” he said.

Basketball fans couldn’t sit still as they watch and shout to the breathtaking exchanges of double and triple shots, minute after minute of the game.

Indeed, a classic match they missed for decades.

Marlon Pangan is from a family of Ginebra die-hard fans. He made sure to witness the comeback of his idol Bal David into the hardcourt as he flaunted an old jersey of David like it was his ‘lucky charm.’

“Since 1994, inabutan ko talaga yung kalakasan nila (Since 1994, I’ve seen them when they were at the peak of their career) – Bal David, Marlo Aquino, Noli Locsin. Natutuwa ako kasi nandito kami. Hanggang ngayon, sinusuportahan pa rin namin mga games nila (I am happy that until now, we’re still here, supporting their games),” he said.

Alaska supporter Jeon Yantada goes all-out for his idol Willie “The Thriller” Miller.

“Parang bumagal na siya lumaki na pero yung tira niya sa labas parang (Stephen) Curry. Hindi naman nagbabago (He seemed to have slowed down a bit but his shots were like Stephen Curry’s. Nothing changed),” the Alaska die-hard fan said.

“Nanonood ako ng PBA kapag may San Miguel fight lang. Nag-cheer ako even pumusta ko sa kanila (I watch PBA only when San Miguel fights. I cheered for them and even placed a bet on them),” said Allan Bernales of his favorite team San Miguel.

It was an intense one hour inside the Big Dome as Alaska Aces hit the hardcourt with a vengeance against the strong San Miguel Beermen who defeated them in February during the Return of the Rivals benefit game with only seven points, 96-83.

The Beermen started strong in the first quarter, leading the ball game with two points, 21-19.

But the Milkmen was also up for the win and led the second quarter with a three-point advantage, 37-34, thanks to Willie “the Thriller” Miller’s 10 points contribution.

San Miguel again dominated the third quarter with an 8-point lead after Chris Calaguio fired four three-point shots, 60-52.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the “Flying A” Johnny Abarrientos displayed his ‘deadly crossover moves’, pushing Alaska closer to lead, 70-68.

There was non-stop intensity as John Ferriols added a free throw and Eddie Laure jumped for two.

The Milkmen finally scored ahead of the Beermen, 71-70 as both teams went neck and neck, scoring tied twice at 71 and 72.

At the final one minute and 42 seconds, the Beermen had the chance to win the game when Kiko Adriano stole the ball and attempted a shot but missed.

At 1:03, Miller fired a three-point shot but Allan Caidic couldn’t just watch so “the Triggerman” delivered his ‘shooting touch’ of three, bringing the score to a third tie at 75.

The last 46 seconds of the ball game brought out the best of both teams.

Abarrientos ended the showdown with a final lay up during the remaining 12 seconds, securing Alaska’s championship title, 77-75, while fans singing “Wala pa ring tatalo sa Alaska!” (Nothing can beat Alaska!)

Battle for 3rd: Ginebra vs. Purefoods

Crowd-favorite Ginebra and Purefoods battle for the third place prior to the championship game.

The Gin Kings toppled the Hotdogs in February during the Return of the Rivals benefit game, 97-89.

But it was a complete turn-around as the Hotdogs emerged victorious after defeating the Gin Kings and secured the third spot in the PBA Legends Face Off, 98-75.

Six players from Purefoods contributed double-digit scores – Roger Yap (20); Alvin Patrimonio (16); Tony Boy Espinosa (14); Glenn Capacio (13); Dwight Lago (10) and Jerry Codinera (10).

Meanwhile, leading Ginebra with high scores were Bennett Palad (16); Mike Orquillas (14); and Bal David (11).

The Legends have nothing but praises to the one-of-a-kind charity basketball game organized by UNTV president and CEO Kuya Daniel Razon in cooperation with the PBA Legends Foundation chaired by former Crispa star Atoy Co.

“Congratulations to everybody. Siyempre giving back to the fans din ito, (Of course, this is also giving back to the fans,)” exclaimed Alvin ‘the Captain’ Patrimonio.

“Natutuwa ako sa mga fans kasi grabe yung cheers nila sa amin (I’m amazed with the way the fans cheered for us, so lively),“ he said.

“Congratulations to UNTV for making this event possible. We were very, very thankful hindi lang doon sa mga Legends na naglalaro kundi sa purpose nito (not only to the Legends who played but for the purpose of this game) – to help the Legends,” thanked Purefoods Bong ‘The Raven’ Ravena.

“Aside for the win this is for all the fans. Makabalik man lang kami sa kanila kahit maliit na kasayahan. Malaking bagay sa amin iyon (To give back to them and to be able to make them happy, that means a lot to us),” he added.

“Sana tuloy-tuloy pa at marami pang (ganitong) event (I hope for more of this event in the future). Thank you and all the best. More power Kuya Daniel and sa UNTV,” concluded Ginebra’s Bal ‘The Flash’ David.

The host UNTV has given the four teams P2-M which they donated to the PBA Legends Foundation. – with details from Bernard Dadis

Couple reminisce romance as fans at UNTV Cup PBA Legends Face-off

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 9, 2019

Photo of Jef and Gerald Simbu with their favorite Purefoods player, Alvin Patrimonio

Two Purefoods fans were able to find love while supporting their favorite team.

Jef and Gerald Simbul met in 2009. They were both supporting their favorite player, Purefoods’ Alvin Patrimonio.

“Parehas kaming mahilig sa basketball, early days pa lang, (We both love basketball even in the early days), we met year 2009. Because sa support namin kay Cap (Because of our support for Cap [Patrimonio]), all of a sudden we became lovers,” Jef said.

Gerald added that because of their love for the Purefoods team, they were able to find each other, and they have been together since then.

“Dahil sa pagkahumaling namin sa Purefoods team then kay Cap, na meet namin isa’t-isa then naging asawa ko siya, (Because of our love for the Purefoods team and Cap, we met each other and she became my wife),” he said.

Jef and Gerald were among the thousands of fans who watched the UNTV Cup PBA Legends Face-off Finals on Monday (July 8) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Some fans wore their team’s jersey and brought their old photos with their favorite player.

Marlon Pangan, a Ginebra fan, recalled the glory days of Bal David and Marlou Aquino. He is still happy to have witnessed their game at the UNTV Cup PBA Legends Face-off.

“Since 1994, inabutan ko talaga iyong kalakasan nila Bal David, Marlou Aquino, Noli Locsin so ngayon natutuwa ako kasi nandito kami hanggang [ngayon] sinusuportahan pa rin namin mga games nila (Since 1994, I was able to see Bal David, Marlou Aquino, and Nilo Locsin at their peak. I am happy that until now, I am still able to support their games),” he said.

Some of the PBA Legends said the fans’ support brings back the strength they had back in the days.

“Siyempre napaka-importante sa amin iyon lalo na mababagal na kami. Kapag naririnig namin iyong chant nila, ginaganahan rin kami (Of course that is very important to us. We are already slow but when we hear them chant, it motivates us),” Bal David said.

“Kahit iyong feeling na lang ma-reminisce namin iyong good old days noong sobra kaming nakipag-battle, iyong passion actually sa kanila namin lahat nakukuha iyon (They allow us to reminisce on how it felt back in the good old days when we were battling hard. We get our passion from our fans),” Johnny Abarrientos said.—AAC (with reports from Mon Jocson)

How legends are made: UNTV Cup PBA Legends Face-Off Finals

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 8, 2019

Two-time PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Danny Ildefonso will look to dominate the paint for the Beermen in tonight’s finals match. Photo courtesy of UNTV Cup.

San Miguel and Alaska will go head to head in the UNTV Cup PBA Legends Face-Off Finals on Monday (July 8) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

A total of P2 million will be given to PBA Legends Foundation which helps former PBA players in need. The champion will get P1 million and half a million pesos for the second placer.

The third and fourth place will get P300,000 and P200,000, respectively.

READ: PBA and PBA Legends Foundation sign MOA to support former PBA players

These players have proven themselves timeless which makes them legends in the PBA hardcourt. But what does it take to be a legend? We asked the legends themselves.

“When you’re talking about being a legend, siguro iyong someone na nakapaglaro ng matatagal (maybe someone who has played for a long time). Kailangan may accomplishment ka, (you have to have an accomplishment) so you should have impact while you are playing. Your life off basketball should be spotless and impeccable for you to be considered a legend.” —Jojo ‘Mr. Clutch’ Lastimosa, PBA Legend Alaska

“Ang puhunan ng basketball players ay ang body. So kailangan pangangalagaan natin. Ito iyong magde-determine kung gaano kahaba ang lalaruin natin. Sa mga new generations of basketball players, minsan lang nag-na-knock iyong opportunity whether sa basketball or sa ibang field kapag may pagkakataon. Grab it. Take it. (The investment of basketball players is their body. We need to care for it. This will determine how long will we be able to play. For the new generation of basketball players, opportunity doesn’t often knock. Whether that is in basketball or other fields. Grab it. Take it).” —Kenneth ‘Captain Marbel’ Duremdes, PBA Legend Alaska

“Kapag naglalaro sila ibigay lang nila ang talagang nararapat, unang-una para sa team, para sa sarili nila, para sa pamilya. Dahil alam naman natin iyan ang nagbibigay buhay sa kanila. Huwag nilang pabayaan lalong-lalo na iyong mga sumusuporta sa kanila. (They should give what is expected of them when playing. Give it for the team, first of all, then for themselves and their families. Because we know, that’s what drives them. They should never neglect it, they should never leave their supporters.)Philip ‘The Scholar’ Cesar, PBA Legend

Aside from maglaro ulit kami together, ang added motivation doon is iyong makatulong kami sa kapwa manlalaro na nahihirapan ngayon. Iyon ang nagpapagana sa amin na maglaro ang tagal na naming hindi ginagawa ito. Alam namin na maganda ang patutunguhan ang aming ginagawa. (Aside from being able to play again together, the added motivation there is we are able to help other players who are having difficulties in life. That is what motivates us now. It has been a long time since we’ve done this. We know our actions will bear good fruits).” —Olsen ‘Rara’ Racela, PBA Legend San Miguel

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