PHILIPPINE Basketball Association (PBA) legends proved once more that they still got their magic touch in the court in a basketball exhibition game against varsity players of STI-WNU Mustangs.
It proved to be a fun-filled, action-packed friendly match last weekend for Negrense basketball fans who witnessed their long-ago court idols donning their jersey numbers once more.
Dubbed as “Shoot for your Dreams,” the basketball caravan highlights the efforts of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) in coming up with timely, relevant and practical short term courses that address the increasing need of manpower abroad.
In the event were students from technical institutions like Murcia, Talisay, Bago, Kabankalan, Sagay, Cadiz, and central schools in Bacolod that aspires to triple their graduates to solve long time social issues like poverty, job misplacement and low college diploma earners.
It is very refreshing to see “The Captain” once more dribble and show his good defense skills. The four-time PBA Most Valuable Player Alvin Patrimonio serves as the current team manager of Purefoods. His celebrity appeal has never died down as shrieks from fans, especially the girls, were heard every time he makes or even fails to basket.
Jerry Codiñera, on the other hand, rallied to gain good points for Team Trabaho while Johnny Abarientos was still very agile, looks like he never aged. A fast runner ever since his golden days, Johnny A, as he is fondly called, is a tough soldier whenever he’s in court.
Just like the good old times, Marlou Aquino, known as PBA’s “Skyscraper,” proved to be a dominant figure in the games. It's funny to see how he jokingly blocks Mustang key shooters that are half his size.
Like Aquino, Kenneth Duremdes, known as “Captain Marbel,” proved to be a crowd favorite as well. It's like a quick trip back to their golden years when these legends were named MVPs and rookie of various years.
I remember how weekends are spent in the past, all of us glued to watching Barangay Ginebra Kings Bal David securing points for his team or how Negrense Noli Locsin lift local spirits to cheer.
The legends team also featured Rodney “The Slasher” Santos, who played for Alaska, Ginebra and Coca Cola Tigers and Bobby Jose who as tagged as “The Firecrackers” of San Miguel.
Another attraction to the games is former Tesda General Director Joel Villanueva. The “Tesdaman” has served in the line up of UST Tigers and even participated in basketball tourneys for youth abroad. He shared how basketball geared him to be with people from all walks of life. He is supporting the FIBA bid, underscoring that it is high time for Filipinos to witness international basketball action.
The Legends, on the other hand, affirmed their commitment to inspire more young athletes through helping grassroots and community basketball associations.
Event organizers, the Association of Technical Institutions of Negros Occidental (Atino), shared their happiness in the turnout of audience, each one rooting for his favorite legend.
The Mustangs, proved to be good players as well. Although it was a friendly match, both teams took to a higher level with a close match ending with scores of 75-74, one point advantage in favor of the senior players.
In a country that thinks of basketball as a national past time, seeing these PBA legends hoop for the basket proved to be a very remarkable experience.
Anyway, they are household names who served as inspirations among present players, and once upon a time, were faces of huge billboards, brands of drinks and food we all grew up with.