Nothing but respect for the PBA’s 40 Greatest from Danny Seigle

Disappointed but thankful.

Danny Seigle was considered as one of the biggest omissions from the PBA’s 40 Greatest Players list in 2015. In spite of the championships and individual awards that Seigle collected in his legendary 18-year PBA career, the 6’6 swingman missed the cut in the prestigious roll, which was launched in commemoration of the league’s 40th year founding anniversary.

The 40 Greatest Players’ list was an offshoot from the 25 Greatest Players roll from 2000, when the PBA celebrated its 25th year.

Both lists gave automatic slots to former Most Valuable Player (MVP) awardees. So when the league re-launched the selection in 2015, only five slots out of fifteen were left for non-MVPs.

Claiming their spots in the 40 Greatest Players’ list were former MVPs Danny Ildefonso, Willie Miller, James Yap, Asi Taulava, Eric Menk, Kelly Williams, Jayjay Helterbrand, Jimmy Alapag, Mark Caguioa and Arwind Santos.

With five slots up for grabs, the selection committee formed by the PBA screened deserving players for possible inclusion in the list. The committee, which included former senators and PBA legends Robert Jaworski and Freddie Webb, former PBA chairman Pato Gregorio, SMC vice-chairman Robert Non, the late sportswriter Barry Pascua, veteran columnist and PBA analyst Joaquin Henson and Cavite Congressman Elpidio Barzaga, deliberated over the credentials of the candidates that would complete the 40 Greatest Players’ list.

When the dust settled, Seigle’s name was nowhere to be found in the list, along with other perceived shoo-ins. Earning the nod from the committee were Chito Loyzaga, Marlou Aquino, Kerby Raymundo, Jayson Castro and Jean Marc Pingris.

Sought for comments by FOX Sports Philippines, Seigle shared his initial reaction to his non-inclusion in the elite list. “Well, that was disappointing. I really felt that I achieved enough in my career to be included. I don’t know the complete criteria for selection back then – other than automatic induction for MVPs – but to me it didn’t matter. Aside from my accomplishments, I thought that the positive impact I had on the PBA would be more than sufficient. Unfortunately for me, and for whatever reason, I fell short of their standards,” said the 1999 Rookie of the Year, four-time Finals MVP and eight-time PBA Champion.

Missing out on the 1999 MVP plum – which was won by Benjie Paras – may have weighed down his bid, according to Seigle. “If I had won that MVP, I would be alongside some of my best friends and the other 40 greatest players in the PBA and put to rest the arguments of me being excluded. But it is what is,” quipped Seigle.

Seigle, however, conveyed his support to the selection committee, the PBA and the players who made their entry in the illustrious list.

“I accept the committee’s decision because the last thing I want to do is cast a shadow on the Top 40 players. I respect those guys. I know how much work went into their careers and they deserve it. At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, I could smile because I consider my career a success and something that I am proud of,” he said.

Three years since, Seigle has moved forward from the inadvertent “snub”. The current San Miguel Alab Pilipinas coaching consultant expressed his gratitude to the PBA and the fans. For Seigle, he would rather cherish the great memories he had in the league.

“I will always be grateful to the PBA for allowing me to be part of its family and giving me the opportunity to fulfil my childhood dream of playing professional basketball. To sum it up- as players, we are the chosen few who have been given the opportunity to make a living doing what we love and I will never take that for granted. I’ve been blessed to have had 18 pro years of amazing experiences, challenges and relationships made on and off the court. In my mind, the exclusion does not negate any of that in the slightest. I wouldn’t trade this amazing journey for anything,” Seigle elaborated.

Photo credits: Brianna Jarro Photography (taken for the ABL), Danny Seigle’s Facebook Page