Source : Musong R. Castillo Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA—Alvin Patrimonio, the top local in the 1990s, and Billy Ray Bates, arguably the best import to ever play in the Philippine Basketball Association, will be enshrined in the league’s Hall of Fame in October.
The second man to win four Most Valuable Player awards after Ramon Fernandez (Toyota, Manila Beer, Tanduay, Purefoods, San Miguel), Patrimonio got the nod to join the Hall of Fame six years after hanging up his sneakers in 2005 and leading Purefoods—the only team he played for—to six championships.
The 6-foot-3 Patrimonio won the MVP Award in 1991, 1993, 1994 and 1997, not only because of his unmatched ability to dominate games but also for his big fighting heart.
Best import ever
Regarded as the best import to ever play in the PBA, the high-flying Bates led the now-defunct Crispa to its second Grand Slam in 1983 and Ginebra San Miguel to its first championship in the 1986 Open Conference.
The man who was the architect of that second three-tournament sweep by Crispa, Tommy Manotoc, will join his import in the Hall together with another of his key Redmanizer, former MVP Freddie Hubalde, and Vintage Enterprises CEO and president Carlos “Bobong” Velez.
Posthumous enshrinements will also be made to honor the late commissioner Mariano Yenko, and former Mariwasa coach and national team mentor, the dapper Valentin “Tito” Eduque.
Bates, who earned the name “Black Superman” from the sports media for his thunderous, crowd-pleasing dunks, is reportedly set to fly to Manila for the ceremonies on Oct. 2, when the league’s 37th Season opens.
First batch of honorees
Fernandez, who formed a deadly triumvirate with Robert Jaworski and Francis Arnaiz for Toyota during the league’s infant years, won the MVP Award in 1982, 1984, 1986 and 1988. He led the first batch of Hall of Fame honorees in 2005.
Comprising the selection committee were TV commentator and Inquirer sports columnist Sev Sarmenta, sports columnists Quinito Henson of the Philippine Star, PBA Press Corps president and Tempo assistant sports editor Tito Talao, sports columnist Al Mendoza of the Manila Standard, PBA Media Bureau chief Willie Marcial, PBA operations head Rickie Santos, and ex-player representative Patrimonio with TV sports broadcaster and Inquirer sports columnist Ronnie Nathanielsz as chair.
The honors committee included PBA commissioner Angelico “Chito” Salud, PBA chair Rene Pardo, vice chair Mert Mondragon, past chairs Angelito “Lito” Alvarez, Carlos “Honeyboy” Palanca, former Philippine Sportswriters Association president and Inquirer sports editor Teddyvic Melendres, Philippine Star sports editor Lito Tacujan and People’s Journal sports editor Joe Antonio.