Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Basketball Idols in My Memory
We do not have Cable TV when I was I kid so we just follow the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) games over the radio. If I were not mistaken, it was covered by Kanlaon Broadcasting Network and it was in Tagalog. While my playmates and classmates root for Crispa, I am a die-hard Toyota fan. I admire most of their players because for me they are tough, on and off court. They are determined and strong.
I was just 9 years old,- it was 1971, when Robert Jaworski and Alberto “ Big Boy” Reynoso,- during their Meralco days in the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) , were banned for life by the BAP for assaulting two basketball officials in the persons of Eriberto Cruz and Jose Obias for allegedly making a series of bad calls favoring Crispa. Because of this incident Jaworski and Reynoso missed the 1972 Olympics and the opportunity to play for the national team for the first time in their lives. But the two cagers were reinstated in 1973 and on that same year, they again teamed up for the Philippine team for the Asian Basketball Conference or ABC. Other players include Francis Arnaiz, Ramon Fernandez, William "Bogs" Adornado, Rogelio "Tembong" Melencio, David Regullano, Rosalio "Yoyong" Martirez, Manuel Paner, Alberto Guidaben, Jimmy Mariano and Ricardo "Joy" Cleofas. I also remember having a notebook with their pictures on its cover that caused envy from my boy classmates at Bubog Elementary School. I was in Grade VI then under Miss Lilia T. Bercasio, my adviser and English teacher who first taught me to write from my mind.
To prove to you that I am a Toyota fan, I am going to answer this question : “Where did the “Big J” nickname of Jaworski came from?” Answer: Many people said that Jaworski plays like Milwaukee Bucks' Oscar Robertson who was nicknamed “Big O" (Lil' bit naughty, isn’t it?). And from then on, Bobby Jaworski became the "Big J" (And it's even naughtier if he was called "Big BJ" or plainly "BJ"!). But I told you, I am a genuine Toyota fan.
But aside from gluing our ears to the radio, we also watch “flesh-and-bone” or live basketball games in San Jose Summer Basketball League or SJSBL at the roofless San Jose Municipal Gymnasium. The dominating presence of Bubog dribblers were once feared by their respective opponents in Inter Barangay Division of the SJSBL. This was from late 70s to early 80s. It was 1972 when Bubog Basketball team joined the SJSBL. The team then was called Bubog Stony Club. They played in the Junior A Category. The Bubog Stony Club was composed of (+) Jolly Sol, Gil Lapuz, Romy Novilla and their star player, Ricardo "Kano" Perez. Basketball matches then are ultimate conduits of off court toughness, dominance and supremacy when I was a kid. Bubog won the championship at the expense of the team from Caminawit in 1972.
But SJSBL’s most sought after cager from Brgy. Bubog is Jaime "Boy" Paciente. He who loves to don jersey number 9 and at 6 foot 1, he was one of the best centers in the league in the late 70s and early 80s. He was once a player played for the Southern Tagalog Athletic Association (STAA) under Coach Bernabe Macaraig and a product of San Jose National High School (SJNHS) intramurals.
Paciente gained the respect as well as envy and criticisms of his barrio folks when he, instead of joining Bubog teams, opted to join "town based" and financially stable teams such as the Loyzaga Lumberjacks and Madayag Village. But Paciente’s height and brand of play suits the Senior Division. Bubog teams were categorized only to Junior A and B divisions. According to him, he only prioritized his individual growth as a ball player than any other. Paciente only ended his basketball when he worked fulltime at the Philippine Virginia Tobacco Administration (PVTA) (now National Tobacco Administration) in the early 80s as watchman/clerk and now a retired employee. Paciente only played for an all-Bubog cagers team Jaravata Furniture (JarFur) then archrival of Panaderia de Oro whose main players are also young dribblers from Bubog in Nunilon "Nonie" Novio, Santos Abad and Alejandro "Dong" Asenjo. The JarFur line-up consisted of the left handed forward Hermie Lopez, the fast dribbling a long shooting guards like Totoy "Baka" Alorro, Pet (+) and Buboy Artoz, including Vic Asenjo, and center-forward powers like Terry Abad and Norbing Torribio. I was already in highschool when an all-Bubog team, The AGPACON Builders, reinforced by Rudy Alindato from Manila and Chito Plaza from San Pablo, Laguna, grabbed the Junior A championship trophy. The Bubog teams fielded in the annual SJSBL are alternately coached by Honesto "Boy" Zausa (+) and Melvin Artoz.
Bethany Book Store, Bubog Athletic Club, Bubog Hawks (pronounced "Bubugoks") were the teams where they played. They became the idols of many kids from the barrios of San Jose and the town proper alike. Kids like me who idolize strong and determined men like the Toyota Comets.
Though not many of the teams won championships, the Bubog dribblers displayed the patience of a fisherman and hard work a farmer in their every game…
(Photo from Facebook : Francis Arnaiz of Toyota and Freddie Hubalde of Crispa)