Alaska fetes 30 greatest players of all time
The starting unit of the ’96 Alaska Milk grand slam team, two MVP winners and five champion imports were among those honored as Alaska’s 30 greatest players of all time during the franchise’s 30th anniversary bash at Endurun College at McKinley Hill in Taguig Thursday night.
Jojo Lastimosa, Johnny Abarrientos, Bong Hawkins, Poch Juinio and Jeff Cariaso, the main men of Alaska in their glorious era in the 90s, shared the moment with MVP winners Kenneth Duremdes and Willie Miller, and champion imports Sean Chambers, Devis Davis, Rosell Ellis, Diamon Simpson and Robert Dozier.
Yoyoy Villamin, Willie Pearson, Biboy Ravanes, Boy Cabahug, Ricric Marata, Bong Alvarez and Eugene Quilban, the brightest stars in Alaska’s early years in the PBA, also made the honor rolls along with Rodney Santos, Ali Peek, Mike Cortez, Reynel Hugnatan, Sonny Thoss, Tony dela Cruz, LA Tenorio, Cyrus Baguio, Calvin Abueva, Dondon Hontiveros and Jvee Casio.
These players had their imprints in Alaska’s great journey in the PBA highlighted by 14 championships in 28 finals appearances.
From 1986 to this day, Alaska won 879 of 1,606 games for a remarkable 54.7 winning percentage.
It’s not lost on team owner Wilfred Steven Uytengsu whose passion for his team hasn’t waned a bit all these years.
He rattled in numbers (1,606, 879, 54.7%, 154, 53, 30, 28, 14, 9, 6, 1) to encapsulate their ride in the league.
“Over the part 30 years, Alaska has played 1,606 games. We have won 879 of those games for a 54.7-percent winning percentage. A total of 154 players have worn the Alaska jersey, plus 53 imports. We have 28 finals appearances and have won 14 championships. There have only been nine head coaches. We have retired six jerseys. And we have been one team committed to excellence,” said Uytengsu in his welcome address during the affair.
He also mentioned their contributions to the national team, citing the stints of Abueva, Hontiveros and Thoss in the recent FIBA Asia Championship, and Abueva and Manuel in the FIBA World Tour 3×3 final.
Of course, there’s their large contribution in the 1998 Asian Games when they sacrificed their shot at another PBA grand slam in loaning Abarrientos, Lastimosa, Duremdes and coach Tim Cone in the Phl Centennial team that brought home the bronze medal.
Uytengsu took pride having these players winning while living up “to our core values of teamwork, commitment, dedication and integrity.”
“We believe in respecting the league and our opponents. We believe in respecting the game. And we try to do this each time we step on the court,” Uytengsu stressed.
Uytengsu is also proud of their former players who have become productive in their respective endeavors at the end of their playing careers.
“We are proud that may of our players have gone on to be successful coaches in the PBA, UAAP, NCAA and other leagues. Some have gone to other careers in business, politics, education while others have become entrepreneurs,” he said.
Chambers, for one, is now a middle school administrator in California. Alex Araneta, a former No. 1 pick of Alaska, is a top executive at MasterCard Loyalty Solutions in Sydney, Australia.
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