Among the best and greatest tacticians of Philippine basketball, a throng of UAAP-bred coaches stand out among the rest. Here, in the second of our blog series on the best of the UAAP in the sport of basketball, we take a look at the roster of PBA coaches and assistant coaches since 1975 who were products of the UAAP.
Bogs Adornado of the UST Growling Tigers, the same player who was the first winner of the PBA’s MVP Award, coached the Alaska Aces in 1989, before giving up the post to Tim Cone, who has since been the only coach of Alaska.
The former La Salle Green Archer Gee Abanilla, is currently the assistant coach of the San Miguel Beermen. He had a collegiate coaching stint with the CSB Blazers in 2008 before giving the post to Caloy Garcia.
Though now coaching for an NCAA team, Letran’s head coach Louie Alas was a former Adamson Soaring Falcon. His short and controversial stint as head coach of Mobiline 2001 opened up a door for him to coach the Letran Knights, which immediately won a championship under his tutelage. Alas also holds the distinction of leading the Manila Metrostars of the now defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association to 22 straight games, the most by any ball club in basketball history.
Perhaps unknown to many, while Benjie Paras was the face of the UP Fighting Maroons when it won its championship in 1986, it was Eric Altamirano who won the MVP Awards that year. His first try at college coaching for UP resulted in the Fighting Maroons entrance to the Final Four ten years after he had won as a champion Maroon himself. That was the last of UP’s Final Four appearance since then until now. Altamirano has also successfully led the Mobiline Phone Pals to winning the PBA Centennial Cup in 1998.
Altamirano’s predecessor was the bemedalled Joe Lipa also from the UP Fighting Maroons. Lipa was the coach of UP when it won its 1986 championship. Lipa, who is currently UAAP’s commissioner, coached the now defunct Formula Shell in 1987 and in 1994. He also had a stint with Air21.
Each of the eight current schools comprising the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) have a claim in basketball history here in the country. It’s nice to take a sweeping view of how our college ball clubs have made a significant impact in the history of the sport since it was introduced here in the early 20’s.
For this first in a series of blogs about the best of the UAAP Schools in Basketball, we’ll take a look-back at the past MVP’s of the Philippine Basketball Association who were graduates of a UAAP school.
The first ever MVP of the PBA was Bogs Adornado of the Crispa Redmanizers, and he was a proud University of Santo Tomas alumni. He also won that award thrice, the second best record in league history, next to Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio, each with 4.
The University of the East boasts of producing the most number of distinct MVP’s coming from the same school. The “Living Legend” Robert Jaworski, triggerman Allan Caidic, and the recent awardee of the MVP award, James Yap, were all Red Warriors.
Benjie Paras, the only PBA player to have ever won both MVP and ROY awards in the same year, is a product of the UP Fighting Maroons.
Danny Ildefonso, on his way to winning back-to-back MVP honors from 2000-2001, won the Best Player of the Conference award five straight times, the most by any player in the PBA. Ildefonso was a product of the NU Bulldogs.
13 of the 35 times that the MVP Award was given went to former UAAP players. Johnny Abarrientos from the FEU Tamaraws, and Kenneth Duremdes from the Adamson Soaring Falcons complete the list of players in the PBA who have won the MVP honors, all coming from the UAAP.
In summary, the following PBA MVP Awardees were from the UAAP:
1. Bogs Adornado (UST, three times)
2. Robert Jaworski (UE)
3. Allan Caidic (UE)
4. James Yap (UE, two times)
5. Benjie Paras (UP, two times)
6. Kenneth Duremdes (AdU)
7. Johnny Abarrientos (FEU)
8. Danny Ildefonso (NU, two times)