All in God’s Time



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Bangkok Briefly

We had a brief stint in beautiful Bangkok recently. It was for a week-long Seminar-Workshop conducted by Habitat For Humanity International (Asia-Pacific) for operations and construction reps in the Asia-Pacific region. The week-long course was entitled: Disaster Risk Reduction and Response & Construction and Appropriate Technologies Workshop. And we had a great time learning, bonding and seeing the sights of Bangkok. Mixing business with pleasure, that’s such a great way to learn.


A beautiful sunrise by the Chao Phraya River that slices through Bangkok.

Habitat’s main mandate is to address the problem of substandard or poverty housing that is prevalent in Third World countries around the globe. However, it not only seeks to address this deficiency, it also seeks to reduce disaster risk, and have thus committed to build back better and safer shelters and homes. Over the years, Habitat has been building homes in more than 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. But with the uptrend in disaster risks, plus the rising problems associated with climate change and rapid urbanization, Habitat recognizes the need to scale up the quality and impact of its programs, as well as the need to strengthen the capacities of the Asia-Pacific organization.

With the two recent disasters in the region necessitating big disaster response operations – the Nepal earthquake and Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu – it is imperative that we prepare accordingly for the possibility of such calamities.  The scale of the incoming tragedies may vary, but the preparations will have to be in place early on in order to save time and effort, and ultimately, save precious lives. Hence, Habitat International is striving to scale up the quality and impact of its programs by seeking to acquire an integrated approach to build safer homes and resilient communities in the region.

The Workshop was a wonderful eye-opener for us. It increased our understanding on the concepts and framework on safer and resilient housing, and its corelation with Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) measures. It provided us more insights on new and appropriate technologies in construction, with emphasis on the use of indigenous materials. It enhanced our understanding on Habitat SOPs and DR practices, particularly in situations that need urgency and immediate action. It appraised us on Habitat’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Response (DR3) strategy: Pathways to Permanence. Finally, it provided us a great venue to exchange ideas, learn from each other’s experiences and prepare together for any disaster that may occur in the Asia Pacific Region.

Thanks, Habitat, for the great learning experience! Thanks too to everyone for the warmth of your friendship, and the great insights. Till we meet again.


Filed under Advocacies, Habitat

Philippines Bows to China in FIBA Asia Championship

It was just too good a dream to come true. The supremely confident Chinese basketball squad outplayed our gallant Gilas warriors  78-67  to reclaim bragging rights as Asia’s Cage Kings, and in the process, gain an outright seat to the Olympic Basketball program next year in Brazil.


The Chinese team celebrate after being awarded the crown.

So devastating were the Chinese as they brought in wave upon wave of talents in its 9-game unbeaten run on the way to the crown. The game against Iran in the semis was a portent of things to come as they high-geared their transition game, leaving star center Hamed Ehadadi visibly exhausted and too tired to contribute on the offensive end.

In the final game against Gilas, China would deploy 2 7-footers simultaneously, making Andray Blatche’s life miserable under the paint. They also had 3 fresh guards rotating on Jason Castro, making Jason bleed for every single point he dished out. Simply put, China was just too big, too strong, too many and hence too much for the game, but totally outclassed Philippine Team.

The Philippines paraded a 2-3 zone at the start, to offset China’s huge 3-inch height advantage. They took an early 15-10 lead before Zhou Qi, only 19 years of age, started wreaking havoc from the top of the key. China never trailed after that, although Gilas had a lot of wasted opportunities in the  2nd half. While their defense was able to provide occasional stops, the Gilas offense just wasn’t there. In the end, the Chinese fresh troops would break down the Gilas defense.


The battle of the bigs: Yi Jian Lian goes against Andray Blatche.

But even in defeat, the Gilas team can raise their heads high. For despite the distractions, the absence of some quality players, the lack of preparation time, they were able to give a good account of themselves, even surprising many cage pundits by reaching all the way to the Finals, giving the host China a good fight, and making the country proud.

For more on this year’s FIBA Asia Championships, pls read:

It’s Philippines Versus China for All the Marbles Tonight

Philippines on Inevitable Collision Course with Formidable China


Pics courtesy of


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It’s Philippines Versus China For All The Marbles Tonight!!!

Tonight, the Philippines’ over-achieving Gilas Team goes to war against the bigger, badder behemoths of China. As expected, the Philippines and China stopped their respective semifinals adversaries to book identical tickets to the FIBA Asia finals. China took the first finals slot with a masterful display of cage wizardry, upending the defending champs Iran 70-57. Two hours later, the Philippines followed suit by dispatching a tough-as-nails Japanese five 81-70. With the 2 contrasting wins, host China and the Philippines move to within a tantalizing game of assuming bragging rights as the kingpins of Asian Basketball and annexing a slot at the Olympic Basketball tournament next year.

China brought down the reigning champs Iran with a strong offensive transition game that left Iran’s main man, Hamed Ehadadi, huffing and puffing in the last two frames. When their transition game was checked, China rolled out a nifty inside game featuring waves of slashers and burly rebounders ready for the put-back. China has demonstrated a growing maturity and is oozing with confidence as they step on the court with a highly partisan crowd egging them on tonight.

Our Gilas warriors on the other hand had to fight tooth-and-nail against a worthy Japanese adversary, finally finding the good breaks in the last 2 minutes to break open a very close game. With the dynamic duo of Andray Blatche and Jason Castro leading the Pinoy charge, the Gilas team has also slowly acquired valuable tournament savvy in time for tonight’s finals. Expect them to put their hearts on the line as they do battle against the Great Wall of China. Gilas will be the big underdogs tonight, spotting China’s 3-inch average height advantage, plus the hometown crowd.

I’m sure that so much have been said on how the Chinese behemoths can be cut down to size. So for tonight, it’s ‘No guts, no glory’ time. To inspire our players as well as our fans, allow me to invite you to read an article I did 2 years ago, on glory nights for our Philippine team: ‘No Guts, No Glory’ Nights Recalled.

For more on our FIBA Asia campaign this year, pls read: Philippines on Inevitable Collision Course Against Formidable China.

Pics courtesy of,,



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Philippines on Inevitable Collision Course Against Formidable China

As the FIBA Asia Olympic Qualifier reaches the Final Four, the Philippines seems to be in a good position to advance to the finals with an anemic, yet ‘I’ll-take-it-for-what-it-is’ win 82-70 against a fighting Lebanese squad. And looming as the likely adversary to meet the Gilas warriors is the mean, murder machine from China.


Gabe Norwood stuffs one in against Lebanon. (courtesy of

Yes, folks, it could be the big, bad, burly bullies of Beijing versus the Mighty Mites of Manila. It will be size versus speed; it will be the ghastly Goliath against the Daring David. It will be the power of the hometown crowd against the prayers of a distant nation if the two protagonists hurdle their respective assignments today at the ongoing Changsha-Hunan FIBA Asia Championship.


Yi Jian Lian stuffs one in against India. (courtesy of

But first, the Philippines will have to dispose of a dangerous Japanese side which it had outlasted 73-66 in the second round enroute to its first place standing in Group E. Japan had earlier disposed of a vastly-improved Qatari squad 81-74 to advance to the semis.


Joji Takeuchi leads a well-rounded Nippon charge. (courtesy of

Host China on the other hand will be facing the defending champs Iran on the other semifinal face-off today. This could be an interesting match, with the seemingly-indestructible Chinese team, undefeated and winning by ridiculously large margins, the last being a 104-58 shellacking of a totally-outclassed Indian team.

The reigning Asian kingpins Iran will be no push-overs, mind you, as they have perennial MVP Hamed Ehadadi anchoring the team, though they now appear to be the slight underdogs with the hometown crowd factor and the injury to three-point gunner Hamed Afagh. Iran had reached the Final Four with a convincing win over the equally-dangerous Korean crew 75-62. It will be recalled that in the first round, Korea had given the Chinese team its only scare before bowing out, 76-73.


Hamed could spoil the China party. (courtesy of

China looks formidable this year even without the homecourt advantage. With a young tall crew led by veteran Yi Jian Lian, and flashy guard Guo Ailun expected to cancel out the Philippines’ dynamic duo of Andray Blatche and Jason Castro, the match-up battles at the 2-3-4 slots will be crucial. Here, the Chinese side’s huge advantage lies in their size. With the 19-year old sensation Zhou Qi, the burly Wang Zhe Lin and the consistent Zhou Peng providing the muscle and the added offensive sock. But will the height and heft of the Great China wall be able to withstand the hearts of Calvin Abueva, Gabe Norwood and Marc Pingris?

China and the Philippines had recently locked horns in the last dance campaign for the right to host the 2019 Basketball World Cup. They continue to size each other up in the blue waters of the Western Philippine Seas. China had beaten the Philippines 78-71 in their most recent encounter in the Asian Games 2014, though both didn’t fare well in the tourney. The Philippines had one-upped China in the last FIBA Asia extravaganza in Manila in 2013.

China 2019 Ambassador and former basketball star Yao Ming, left, and Philippine Congressman and eight-time world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao pose for a photo ahead of FIBA's announcement on whether the Philippines or China will host the 2019 Basketball World Cup, in Tokyo, Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Yao Ming, left, and Manny Pacquiao pose during the Philippines – China run-up for the right to host the 2019 Basketball World Cup. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

There is history, there is a bit of bad blood for these two teams. If this dream match holds true, if both teams hurdle their respective assignments tonight – the Philippines against Japan, and China versus Iran – expect the entire Filipino nation to be at the edge of their seats, watching the boob-tube, praying, wining, dining, crying, laughing, and loving every minute of it as the game’s worthy underdogs.

For once, our fractured nation will be united. As the movie Heneral Luna poignantly laments, what this country truly needs is to be united, in order for us to finally gain the respect and admiration of the world. That unifier is right there, thanks in a big way to Manny Pangilinan and the players who have shown their willingness to do battle, risk life and limb, for honor, for country, and for all the Filipino fans out there.


Heneral Luna: Bayan o sarili? (courtesy of

(Photos courtesy of,


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El Presidente: Still Making a Difference Off the Court

By: Emmanuel B. Villaruel

The Sports Fanatic

Manny Villaruel is the Sports Editor of Cebu’s ‘The Freeman’. He wrote this article on one of the country’s – and the PBA’s – most prominent players for a new magazine, ‘The Sports Fanatic’. Mon Fernandez is retired in Cebu. Though retired, he still keeps himself busy with his private business enterprise, plus occasional talks and clinics on basketball. 

Ramon ‘El Presidente’ Fernandez is already past his prime as a decorated hardcourt warrior; but he remains – and will always be – an important and prominent figure in Philippine basketball. Though no longer active inside the playing court, he continues to make an impact with his valuable insights and fearless comments on vital issues concerning the country’s basketball affairs.


Mon Fernandez, 4 PBA MVPs, 19 titles, the most dominant player ever in the PBA Career Leaderboard. (courtesy of

A few months back, he made the Sports pages once again when he pioneered an impassioned fund-raising plea to help Samboy Lim, who had suffered a stroke while playing basketball for a soon-to-be formed veterans’ league.


Mon Fernandez led a fund-raiser for his San Miguel buddy, Samboy Lim. (courtesy of

Recently, he hit the Sports section once again after skipping the grand celebration of the PBA’s 40th Founding Anniversary at the Resorts World Manila. He was also highly critical of the manner by which Chot Reyes called the shots for the Gilas Pilipinas during the FIBA World Cup last year in Spain. He was among those who called for Chot’s resignation, saying that Reyes could have done better in handling the national team from whom we had great expectations of scaling back greater heights in the world stage.

In a wide-ranging interview, the Filipino basketball legend gamely shared his thoughts on practically everything under the sun – from his early years as an amateur cager donning the jersey of the University of San Carlos (USC) Warriors in Cebu up to his glorious days as a pro cager and decorated national team player. This vast experience in the amateur and professional leagues molded him and thus, galvanized his road to greatness. He also talked about his storied clashes with arch-rival, Abet Guidaben; and gave some nuggets of wisdom on the present state of Philippine cagedom.


One of the country’s – and the PBA’s most prominent stars. (courtesy of

In snubbing the PBA rites honoring the addition of 15 new icons to form the league’s 40 Greatest Players, Fernandez – arguably the most brilliant center to showcase his talent in the PBA – explained that it was a matter of principle.

“Since they have already honored me with my inclusion in the 25 Greatest Players in the 25th Anniversary, I found no need to grace the event for the 40th Anniversary with the awarding of the 40 Greatest Players,” said Fernandez.

While he has so much respect for the league, he laments the fact that the selection process was done in haste, a fastbreak of sorts in hoop parlance; and he strongly disagrees with the inclusion of active players in the elite list. (Ed’s note: In the NBA, players are eligible for the Hall of Fame after they have been fully retired from play for at least five years.)


The country’s best. Except for the venerable Caloy Loyzaga, everyone here saw action in the PBA. (courtesy of

“I didn’t agree with naming 15 players more in this event, and besides, active players should not be included in this list. I believe it would have been appropriate if they named 50 Greatest Players on the 50th Anniversary. More so with the haste that they did in adding the 15 players in less that three hours of deliberation by the selection committee. If it was just a simple celebration, just like the 10th, 20th, and 30th, I could have perhaps attended the event,” he added.

Fernandez first rose into prominence as a key member of the USC Warriors in the defunct Cebu Amateur Athletic Association way back in early ’70s. He still vividly recalls – with a tinge of embarrassment – the moment when his first attempt was swatted away by a player shorter than him.

“My first game with the USC Warriors was against Corcord Polytechnic School in the CAAA then. I went for a left handed layup, but a 5’4” player blocked my shot. I was 6’2” then,” he said.

In 1972, after a few years of playing college ball, Fernandez joined the San Miguel Braves in the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA). The following year, he transferred to the Komatsu Komets, who were later renamed the Toyota Comets. His stint in the commercial circuit seasoned him and became his springboard to reach greater glory in the pro ranks. Eventually, he would become a vital cog in the Philippine Team that would win numerous championships during his time.

Fernandez is one of only two players to win the coveted MVP award four times. Interestingly enough, he clinched these with different teams (Toyota, Beer Hausen, Tanduay, and San Miguel Beer), using different line-ups and different coaching strategies.  The only other cager to have accomplished this feat is Alvin Patrimonio, now team manager of Purefoods Star Hotshots.

As a pro, Fernandez has wonderful recollections of his decades-old rivarly with Abet Guidaben, which he describes as intense, but highly productive.

“My rivalry with Abet spanned for 21 years, from 1973 to 1994 to be exact. It was a lot of fun while it lasted. It pushed us to try to be the best we can be,” said Fernandez, in a clear salute to a worthy adversary.


The Fernandez-Guidaben duels in the 70s to the 80s. (courtesy of

In the international arena, the country’s prestige and might may have faded over the years due to the emergence of new basketball regional powers such as China, Iran, Japan and South Korea, but Fernandez is highly optimistic that the Philippine still has what it takes to reclaim its lofty billing and lost glory in the world stage.

“Gone are the days when the Philippines lorded it over the other Asian countries in basketball. The sport has become so popular worldwide that almost all countries have developed their skills in the sport. Fortunate are those races which are gifted with height and heft,” noted Fernandez, who was enshrined into the PBA Hall of Fame Class of 2005.

“With the easing of the eligibility rules, our chances of regaining supremacy here in Asia has definitely become better. Height has always been our disadvantage, especially with the entry of China in the league. With a tall and talented naturalized player, plus our local giants, we do now have a chance to regain the no. 1 spot in Asia every now and then.  But this is a short term program,” he added.


Friendly trysts between the erstwhile rivals to help promote basketball at the grassroots level. (courtesy of bisayabulletin)

To achieve our dream in the long term, Fernandez said the country’s major stakeholders in the sport must have a sustainable grassroots development program for basketball.

“An honest-to-goodness grassroots program should be developed starting from the elementary grades supported by tournaments. By the age of 14-15 years old, we should have players with solid basketball/athletic skills ready for the collegiate leagues and graduating to the professional level,” he said.

Fernandez has already achieved so much in life. He is the PBA’s All-Time Scoring Leader with 18,996 points, with Abet Guidaben a distant 2nd with 15,775 points. He is 1st in Most Free Throws Made with 3,848 points; 1st in All-Time Most Minutes Played with 36,624 minutes; 1st in Career Shot Blocks with 1,853 rejections; and 1st in All-Time Most Rebounds with 8,652 boards. He was also 2nd in Most Games Played with 1074 (next to Guidaben); 2nd in Career Assists with 5,220 (next to Bobby Jaworski); and 2nd in Career Steals with 1,302 (next to Johnny Abarrientos), clearly dominating the PBA Career leaderboard. Together with the 4 PBA MVP awards he collected, he was also  named MVP in the 1973 Asian Basketball Championship (now FIBA Asia Cup).


With the legendary Big J receiving their ‘Top 25 PBA Players’ Award. (courtesy of

Aside from the individual awards El Presidente has also led many teams to clinch the PBA championship series. He bagged nine titles with Toyota, led Beer Hausen to a title-series loss to Great Taste in 1984, powered Tanduay to three PBA titles, and collected seven titles with San Miguel, his most treasured team.

“I would say that returning to San Miguel Beer was one of my most memorable moments as a pro. It was something special, it was like a homecoming for me. San Miguel Beer, with coach Ning Ramos at the helm, was the team that recruited me from Cebu. During my very first tournament in 1973 National Seniors, the team won its first championship since joining the basketball league. In my last tournament that I played for the team before retiring, we also won the All-Filipino Conference in 1994,” he said.

With all the plaudits and laurels that adorn his illustrious career, Fernandez said there is still something he would like to accomplish. Surprisingly, it’s not about the sport that used to literally be a part of every beat of his heart.

“We cannot stop dreaming. I would want to see our country get over the moral decay in our society, the drug problem and environmental concerns. I am fortunate that I was able to experience swimming in pristine rivers, waterfalls and lakes. I really do hope and pray that we can instill in our youth the morals and virtues that can help them with the challenges of the times,” Fernandez concluded. Indeed, despite his advancing age, Fernandez continues to dream big for a better Philippines.

Pics courtesy of GMAnetwork,,,,

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Hope for the Unseen 

-a story from Habitat for Humanity Philippines

Heart-rending, heartwarming stories of how we can help our fellowmen. As we near the second anniversary of the twin disasters of 2013 – the Bohol earthquake in October and Super Typhoon Haiyan in November, here is a feel-good story of a blind man who lost his home in December 2014, and how his darkness has slowly turned into a growing light of hope. We hope this will inspire us to reach out and give more of ourselves to those who have less in life. This shall be the first of a series of stories from Habitat for Humanity Philippines.


Wilfredo and Adelina: from pigpen to a new home.

Source: Hope for the Unseen

Life can be tough. It can lead you to a place where you have nothing to rely on but faith. In just the blink of an eye, everything could vanish. In the case of 73-year-old Wenifredo Moslares, an ill-fated event on Christmas Eve of 2010 changed his life. While planting rice, mud splashed into his eyes and infected them.

Suddenly, everything went dark: Wenifredo had lost his eyesight.

“Of all my body parts, why did it have to be my eyes?” It was the question Wenifredo — husband, father, college graduate and former mechanic — kept asking himself.

But that was not the end of it.

When Typhoon Ruby (international name: Hagupit) struck Eastern Samar in December 2014, Wenifredo and his wife, Adelina, were one of those who lost their homes.

With nowhere else to go, Adelina converted their pigpen into a temporary shelter so they could have a place to sleep. Due to Wenifredo’s disability, his wife had to install the nipa walls of the pigpen herself. “She cleaned everything out so the manure and stench would disappear.”

For eight months, the pigpen was their home. They endured that cramped space even at their advanced age, and Wenifredo’s condition. “Because I’m blind, I felt so helpless, I felt like the saddest person in the world. I couldn’t do anything but to place our situation in God’s hands,” he said.

But there was light after the darkness after all. After months of praying and hoping, Wenifredo and Adelina received a house repair kit from Habitat for Humanity Philippines, containing  plywood, GI sheets, coco lumber, paint, and other construction materials. Skilled laborers who partnered with Habitat Philippines helped the couple build their new home from the ground up.

The couple couldn’t be any happier: Adelina burst into tears of joy, Wenifredo couldn’t stop thanking Habitat. They didn’t need to spend the remainder of their lives in a pigpen anymore.

Their new home changed their lives again, but for the better.

“We are so happy. We’ll be able to sleep peacefully. I’ll finally be able to stretch my legs. I can stand up inside my house again, unlike in that pigpen where I’m just always seated or hunched over,” he exclaimed.

And despite his blindness, Wenifredo was able to envision how their new home looks like. For him, it isn’t just an ordinary wooden house. It’s their new castle, their new mansion… anything and everything a grand and beautiful house could be.

“I will always be thankful that there are people who were willing to help us. We wouldn’t have this new home if not for their good hearts.”

The Book of Hebrews describes faith as “the substance of the things we hope for, the evidence of things yet unseen.” Wenifredo may have been blind, but he understood that there was Hope because he saw through different eyes — through eyes of faith.


Wenifredo and Adelina’s story is one of those stories that you can say that miracles do happen, not overnight, but when it is needed the most. Habitat for Humanity Philippines to this day continues to build homes where families are in dire need. Help us today and  , so that together we can build a better and brighter Philippines. 


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Philippine Basketball in Review (Part 6 – Fusing the Old with the New in The 90s)


The 90’s finally saw the ‘changing of the guards’, as the PBA’s – and the country’s – top cagers started to bow out one by one to the next generation stars. As the likes of Bobby Jaworski, Mon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben started huffing and puffing, a fresh group of stars were lining up at the officials’ table, ready to take up the cudgels for the stars. Alvin Patrimonio, Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, Hec Calma, Benjie Paras, Jojo Lastimosa. These were just some of the names that would enthrall the new basketball fandom. Oh yes, as new players paraded in the hardcourt, a new breed of fans would also fill the rafters and crowd the family TV sets.

Originally posted on charly's blog:

In 1989, the Philippines reeled from a shock loss to Malaysia in the South East Asian Games.This was the first and only time that the SEA Games gold medal for basketball was not won by the Philippines. And this brought the country to new depths of ignominy insofar as regional basketball was concerned.

Luckily for the Philippines, also in 1989, FIBA would start allowing professionals to play in international tourneys. Thus the first all-pro national team was formed in 1990 for the Asian Games. Coached by the venerable Bobby Jaworski, this all-star team would include Allan ‘The Triggerman’ Caidic, Samboy ‘The Skywalker’ Lim, Alvin ‘The Captain’ Patrimonio, Mon ‘El Presidente’ Fernandez, Hector ‘The Director’ Calma and the newest sensation in the PBA, Benjie ‘Tower of Power’ Paras. Paras had just taken the 1989 PBA season by storm with a MVP Award on top of a Rookie of the Year award…

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September 9, 2015 · 6:49 am

Philippine Basketball in Review (Part 5 – The 80s Usher in A New Breed)


The 80s ushered in exciting new faces. The likes of Alvin Patrimonio, Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, Benjie Paras, Jojo Lastimosa and many more upstarts would finally rise to challenge the old guards. But the stars of the 70s would prove to be a durable lot, with the Bobby Jaworski, Mon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben still being able to dish out valuable lessons to the young ones.

Originally posted on charly's blog:

Toyota’s performance as a team started to unravel in the early 80s. In one championship match against Crispa in 1980, Toyota Coach Fort Acuna benched Bobby Jaworski for reasons still unknown to the public. At the halftime break, Acuna was fired by the Toyota management, paving the way to Jaworski’s return. Inspired by the return of their team captain, the team responded with a win, giving Crispa its only loss in the tournament. Fort Acuna would not be able to recover from this episode, and would die of an apparent suicide a year later.

2ball1 Arnaiz leads the Toyota fastbreak.

In 1981, Crispa would tangle with Toyota in the PBA Open Conference finals. Toyota would take this one with the help of import Andy Fields. But this would be the last song-and-dance finals for the two arch-rivals. Toyota would take 3 more championships in 1981 and 82, but there was a…

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August 31, 2015 · 3:36 pm

Philippine Basketball in Review (Part 4- The Birth of the PBA)


The birth of the PBA ushered in a new era in Philippine basketball. We bade goodbye to Asian basketball dominance; but interest in the sport continued, thanks to the healthy rivalry between Crispa and Toyota.
Relive those pioneering days in the PBA when Jawo battled Atoy Co and company in jam-packed crowds at the Araneta Coliseum.

Originally posted on charly's blog:

In the 1971 Asian Basketball Conference (ABC) in Tokyo, the Philippines once again took the bridesmaid role, losing the crown to host Japan. Clearly, basketball supremacy in Asia was no longer ours. Teams from Korea, Japan, Israel and a looming giant, China, were now seriously contending, not to mention the Mideast countries with their taller, heftier breed of bullies.

In 1972, the Philippines got some measure of revenge by upending the Japanese team in the Summer Olympics in Germany. We ended up 13th among the world’s best, but the consolation victory over Japan made us – however unofficially – Asia’s best for the period.

In 1973, the ABC wars were once again held in Manila. With the entire nation rallying behind the team, William Adornado would take the Most Outstanding Player Award and lead the Philippine quintet to the championship. Along with upcoming stars Ramon ‘El Presidente’ Fernandez, Francis Arnaiz…

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August 30, 2015 · 9:27 am