Numerous collegiate stars have carried over their success to the professional ranks. For Part 2 of this series, we take a look at the products of NCAA schools who have had the most success in the PBA based on a combination of individual statistics and accolades, championships won, and impact on the league.
Just a couple of things we want to be clear so as to avoid confusion; First, we are looking at their PBA careers in this article and not their collegiate careers. Second, there might be players in the list who played at the time their school was still not part of the NCAA, but we still included them in the list because they are after all the best player in the pros to come from that NCAA school. Lastly, we are looking at PBA all-time greats, so there might be some schools who will not be included in this list.
Atoy Co was one of the most feared scorers in the early years of the PBA. He was the first player to reach 5,000 points (1979) and also the first to score 10,000 points (1984). No one can question his greatness and legacy. PBA 1977 MVP Freddie Hubalde also is from Mapua. But there is one other King Cardinal who beats them out as the best PBA player to come out of Mapua. He is known as ‘The Captain’.
Alvin Patrimonio is one of only three players to have won MVP honors four times. His loyalty cannot be questioned as he spent his entire pro career with the Purefoods franchise. Not only was ‘Captain Lion Heart’ one of the best power forwards to ever play the game, he also was one of the most durable, holding the record for the most consecutive games played, a testament to his discipline and his commitment to his team. He was also a picture of consistency, being named 10 times to the Mythical 1st Team.
San Beda Red Lions
Two players known more for their defense than their offensive prowess are top of mind when considering the best player in the pros to come out of the Red Lions’ den — Abe King and Chito Loyzana. Both are all-time greats and are two of the best defenders to ever play in the PBA. Between the two, King would have to be considered the best PBA player to come out of Mendiola.
King was often given the unenviable task of defending the best local big man or the import of the opposing team. In Toyota’s star-studded lineup made up of capable scorers, King made his mark as the one who did the dirty work for his teammates. King is a 13-time PBA Champion and a one-time member of both the Mythical 1st and 2nd teams. He is also a 3-time member of the All-Defensive Team. He is one of the top 10 best rebounders in the history of the PBA.
San Sebastian Stags
Rommel Adducul may have had a more dominant NCAA career than Paul Alvarez, but ‘Mr.Excitement’ had the more storied career in the PBA. In his early years in the pros, Alvarez was one of the most electrifying and explosive scorers in the league. In Alvarez’s rookie season with Alaska, he averaged 23 points and 8 rebounds a game and made the Mythical 2nd team.
He did even better in his sophomore year by scoring 23.4 points a game. That same year, he scored 71 points in Alaska’s 169-138 win over Shell. All these helped him make the Mythical 1st team in 1990. Injuries and personal issues hindered Alvarez from blossoming into an even bigger star, but twice, he bounced back by winning the Comeback Player of the Year in 1993 and 1997. He would eventually become a league journeyman.
Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers
It will be an injustice not to bestow this recognition to both Philip Cezar and Vergel Meneses. Both are former MVPs and are two of the best players in PBA history. One was known as ‘The Scholar’ who could out-think and outfox opposing big men with his grace and finesse, while the other regaled the crowd with his aerial exploits which made him a nightmare to defend.
Cezar was a two-way player who could hurt opponents with his scoring and his defense which made him known as one of the early Tapal Kings. He was a 7-time Mythical 1st Team member and made the All Defensive Team four times. Meneses, described by both Danny Seigle and Jojo Lastimosa as the player they had the most difficulty defending, is a former Most Improved Player awardee as well as a 2-time Mythical 1st Team member and 1-time Mythical 2nd Team awardee.
Kerby Raymundo and Willie Miller may have had better PBA individual records (with Miller being named MVP twice when national team players skipped a portion of the season in 2002 and 2007), but perhaps next to the ‘Big J’, no else had an impact on the league as much as Avelino “Samboy” Lim had. In our books, Lim is the best PBA player produced by Letran.
Lim is probably the only player who would get cheered on even by fans of the opposing team whenever he would check into the game. His high-flying and daredevil ways led to numerous injuries which prevented him from completing a full PBA season without missing any game. Despite that, he still made the 2nd Mythical Team twice and was instrumental in San Miguel’s Grand Slam year in 1989. Over 20 years since he retired from the PBA, Lim is still revered by players and fans alike and has remained unequal in creativity and skywalking.
University of Perpetual Help Altas
Scottie Thompson might eventually figure in the discussion on who is the best PBA player to come out of University of Perpetual Help, but for now, that honor belongs to a guy whose economy of moves and impeccable timing in the low block made him one of the best power forwards to ever play the game. He is Bong Hawkins.
After playing for Presto and Sta.Lucia, Hawkins finally gained individual recognition when he moved to Alaska in 1994. That same year, he was named the league’s Most Improved Player as he led the team in scoring and rebounding. The Hawk won 9 titles with Alaska, including the 1996 Grand Slam. Hawkins would eventually finish his career with 2 Mythical 1st Team and 2 Mythical 2nd Team citations. He also made the All-Defensive Team in 1994.
Before CJ Perez, there was another Pirate named Gary David who torched collegiate opponents with his relentless drive and determination before the team joined the NCAA. David would take his act to the PBA where at his peak, he was one of the league’s most prolific scorers. But before ‘El Granada’, there was another explosive Lyceum Pirate aptly called the Atom Bomb who was capable of torching opposing defenses with an avalanche of shots from anywhere on the court. His name is Ato Agustin.
Agustin was a second round draft pick of San Miguel in 1989 and initially served as back-up in the team’s Grand Slam conquest. The following year, Agustin blossomed as he was entrusted with more playing time by Coach Norman Black. The combo guard showed he could instantly light up the scoreboard with his shooting and penetration. He was named the 1991 Most Improved Player and the 1992 Most Valuable Player. Agustin won 6 PBA titles and made the Mythical 1st team three times.