Philip Cezar is undoubtedly one of the best defenders Philippine basketball has ever produced. But he is more than just a mere stopper.
Regarded during his playing days as “The Scholar”, Cezar used his superior court smarts on both ends of the floor.
A 15-time PBA champion, he has proven himself as a winner as he was part of two grand slam teams of the fabled Crispa Redmanizers. He was a former Most Valuable Player of the PBA, a league Hall of Famer, and one of the 25 and 40 Greatest Members of the league.
Known as the original “Tapal King”, he would retire as the second best in the PBA’s all-time shot block list (1,370) and No. 6 all-time leading scorer (12,077), in a career spanning 16 years.
As a defensive ace, he is fascinated by the way Aris Dionisio, one of his top players with the Manila Stars, has performed.
“Nakikita ko yung sarili ko sa kanya,” Cezar told FOX PH in an exclusive interview. “Parehas kasi kaming depensa ang inuuna.”
But just like when he was at his prime, he saw the winner’s attitude in Dionisio.
“Ako hindi ko ipinakikita sa mga tao na masama ang loob ko kapag natatalo yung team na nilalaruan ko. Kasi every game, gusto ko talagang manalo,” added Cezar. “Si Aris, winner rin yang bata. Makikita mo yun sa bawat laro niya. Laging bigay todo.”
Cezar could not help but be proud of his ward who had just captured two achievements in the recent MPBL Awards Night.
The 6-foot-4 versatile forward was included in the All-MPBL First Team and was also named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.
“Malayo ang mararating ng player na katulad niya, basta kailangan lang disiplinado siya,” added Cezar.
Photos from Retro PBA/Manila Stars Facebook