The game has changed.
Gone are the days when the prototypical power forwards and centers are only expected to corral rebounds and set hard screens.
With the value of pace and space at an all-time high, big men nowadays are tasked to space the floor and open driving lanes for their guards, by posing as legitimate threats from long distance.
First seen as a fad originating in the European style of play, the idea of sweet-shooting big men has become a norm in the NBA and has even reached the PBA.
FOX Sports Philippines pays tribute to the PBA’s lumbering big men who can bang underneath with the best of them, but can also dish out damage from long distance.
As rugged and physical ‘Big’ Beau Belga’s game is, he has actually become the country’s premiere stretch bigman.
Undersized as a slotman by international standards, the 6’5 burly center is perhaps best revered for his extremely slow release and “imaginary shotgun” gestures each time he connects from beyond the arc.
Belga first rose to prominence as one-half of the dreaded “Extra Rice Inc.” – a notorious twosome known best known for utilizing their heft in bullying opponents.
His toughness and floor spacing capabilities eventually earned him a call up to the national team squad where he recently showed his wares in the 2018 Asian Games and the 4th window of the 2018 Fiba World Cup Qualifiers.
Speaking of enforcers who can also serve as marksmen from beyond, Belga’s former teammate and “Extra Rice” brother J.R. Quiñahan also comes from the same mold.
Dubbed as “Baby Shaq” when he first entered the league, the 6’6 Cebuano eventually honed a deadly mid-range jumper and has become a legitimate pick-and-pop threat.
He would extend that range even further in the coming years and has become a dependable three-point shooter over time.
Like Belga, he also represented the flag in international competition in the 2017 FIBA 3×3 World Cup in Nantes, France.
One of the greatest centers the PBA has ever seen, Asi Taulava has received plenty of nicknames over the course of his 21-year career.
Nowadays, spirited commentator Magoo Marjon calls him the “Splash Tito” – an ode to his age and much improved three-point stroke.
Now at 45 years old, the Fil-Tongan continues to be an elder statesman for Team Pilipinas in international tournaments. But instead of dominating his foes at the low block, Asi is now making a lot of defenders pay for leaving him open from rainbow country.
A 9-time PBA Champion, it’s easy to see why coaches love having Joe Devance on their team.
The 6’7 lefty possesses high basketball IQ and is an underrated playmaker on the low block. Still, it’s Devance’s ability to consistently hit the long ball that makes him a valuable asset in today’s game.
Ranidel de Ocampo
It would be silly to create a list of the best stretch forwards in the PBA without RDO.
A five-time national team member, De Ocampo mixes the perfect blend of physicality and finesse with his low post prowess and three-point proficiency.
His patented one-handed jumpers have certainly helped the Philippine team escape a lot of tricky situations over the years.
Honorable mentions: Troy Rosario, Japeth Aguilar, Aldrech Ramos, Arwind Santos, Sean Anthony, Reynel Hugnatan, JP Erram, Raymond Almazan