INSIDE the room were two distinguished players who have collected close to 2,600 shot blocks and nearly 12,900 rebounds combined.
There we saw PBA legends Philip Cezar and Jerry Codiñera, two defensive specialists who became the league’s Tapal Kings.
They will be playing a huge role though, and this time with the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League, where they will be coaching different teams.
Cezar, the 1980 PBA MVP and Hall of Famer who became renowned for his umbrella-like defense in swatting away opponents, is coaching the Manila All-Stars. He was part of two Grand Slam teams while playing for the fabled Crispa Redmanizers.
Known as The Scholar, he was a former champion coach of the San Juan Knights in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association.
Codiñera, on the other hand, ended his PBA playing career as the third all-time best rebounder and a nine-time All-Defensive Team member – the most number of inclusions among any other player.
The Defense Minister will call the shots for the Imus Bandera-GLC Truck and Equipment for the second season.
Now playing a major role in the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league, both Codiñera and Cezar think the MPBL has a lot to offer to those people who love basketball.
“Nakikita kong similarities sa dating style ng laro ng PBA na andito sa MPBL, yung passion. Kasi ang Filipinos they take it from the heart, yung basketball,” Codiñera told FOX Sports Philippines in an exclusive interview. “Dito, nagagawa nila yung hilig nila, yung pangarap nila and kahit yung iba dito may mga edad na, they wil always try to perform sa standard na mataas. Lalo na may TV. Tsaka mahal ito ng ng Pinoy eh. Kita kasi sa buong Pilipinas yung MPBL.”
“Hindi kataka-taka yung excitement, andyan talaga yan. Maraming mga io-offer yung mga players dyan.”
Cezar, who will be making his coaching comeback, is glad to be handling a team in a regional basketball league and like Codiñera, the many-time champion believes the league offers a lot to players, coaches and staff.
“Ang maganda rito yung mga nasa barangay, makakakita sila at makakanood ng magandang laro sa mga lugar nila mismo,” added Cezar.