100 BEST CAREERS IN THE PBA: THE FOURTH BATCH (31 to 40)



Before you check out the next batch, again I suggest you to check out the guidelines. This is to calm the violent reactions I expect to unfold.

If you wonder how this system works...


Welcome to the fourth part of the 100 Best Careers in the PBA list. Like I said in my early blogs, I started from top to bottom because the highest-ranked players in this list are pretty obvious.





This will be a long read.

Are you ready for more?

Game starts now!




31 DANNY FLORENCIO
DAREDEVIL DANNY
1975 – 83

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
Hall of Fame
25 Greatest Players in the PBA
Played in the 1968 Mexico Olympics
Played in the 1972 Munich Olympics
5,000 Points
Top 10: Scoring Average
Top 25: Free Throw Percentage
2x Season Champion: Scoring Average
1x Season Champion: 2-Points Made

RANKED THIS HIGH:
He is perhaps the most decorated scoring arsenal the league has ever seen in the PBA’s early years. Standing 5’9, Florencio is the only player to average 30 points in a season (32.3ppg in 1977). Also, he once held the highest point total record with 64 points while playing for U-Tex in 1977. Before Caidic, Samboy, Caguioa, and James Yap took over the game, Danny Florencio was the man.

RANKED THIS LOW:
In the official record list of the PBA, Florencio never qualified to any Mythical selection. Florencio was involved in two separate game-fixing incidents in the 70’s playing for Crispa in the MICAA and Toyota in the PBA. Banned from joining Crispa after the 1973 incident, imagine if he stayed on to join this fabled squad in the PBA and claim two grand slams? He also bounced from team to team for eight seasons before finally playing his last with the extremely manly Galerie Dominique Artistas in 1983. In fact, Wikipedia listed Florencio for being part of the first ever trade in PBA history.   




32 MARLOU AQUINO
THE SKYSCRAPER
1996 – present

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
2x Mythical Five
1x Mythical Ten
1x Best Player of the Conference 
1x Finals MVP
Rookie of the Year
1x Defensive Player of the Year
4x All-Defensive Team
1x All-Star MVP
6x All-Star
5,000 Points
2,000 Defensive Rebounds
1,000 Offensive Rebounds
1,000 Blocks
1x Season Champion: Total Points
1x Season Champion: Free Throws Made
1x Season Champion: Total Offensive Rebounds
5x Season Champion: Total Blocks
1x Season Champion: 2-Points Made

RANKED THIS HIGH:
To the chagrin of many, being 6’9 has its perks. Aquino was twice considered for the MVP award because of the dominance he imposed while playing for Ginebra. His jolens shot was a move so awkward; people are still confused on its effectivity. Aside from being an offensive threat, he also captivated the people with his epic swatting, leading the season in that category five times. He helped Ginebra to top-tier status in the late 90’s and gave Sta. Lucia its first title in the early 2000’s.

RANKED THIS LOW:
Of course people will riot on how high he is on this list. Fact is however, the goggled giant could have been higher had not for his attitude. Because of his inability to stay focus (to the point that people are saying he is too indolent), his scoring gradually dropped in the late 2000’s. It also didn’t help his cause that he overstayed in the PBL when he could have joined the league as early as 1995 (on the plus side, he won a PBL grand slam at Stag). 




33 JEFFREY CARIASO
THE JET
1995 – 2010

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
3x Mythical Five
2x Mythical Ten
1x Best Player of the Conference 
1x Finals MVP
Rookie of the Year
4x All-Defensive Team
9x All-Star
5,000 Points
2,000 Assists
1,500 Free Throws Made
Top 25: Free Throw Percentage

RANKED THIS HIGH:
Cariaso was drafted sixth by the Milkmen in 1995 and he was just what the doctor ordered for Alaska. He is one of the most durable and productive shooters to ever play in the PBA. Talking about productive, sans his last two seasons in the PBA, he averaged in double figures. Talking about durable, he played for 16 years in the league despite almost suffering a harrowing injury at the hands of Rudy Distrito.

RANKED THIS LOW:
He is always a team player... which is unfortunate. In Alaska, he was the fourth scoring option behind their main guns. When he was signed then traded to Mobiline, he shone the brightest because he was the only marquee in their lineup. However this was short-lived following the entry of Andy Seigle... and then Asi Taulava. The strong ensembles continue when he was at Coca-Cola and in his return stint with Alaska.




34 MARK CAGUIOA
THE SPARK
2001 – present

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
2x Mythical Five
2x Mythical Ten
1x Best Player of the Conference 
1x Finals MVP
Rookie of the Year
6x All-Star
5,000 Points
500 3-Points Made
Top 10: Scoring Average
Top 25: Free Throw Percentage
1x Season Champion: Total Points
2x Season Champion: Scoring Average

RANKED THIS HIGH:
At the early part of his career he starts off the bench to detonate aerial mortars hence the name The Spark. The flashy and flamboyant Caguioa has the capacity to throw punches in bunches. In no time, he became the 2000’s reincarnation of Robert Jaworski – the guy the people either love or hate because of his words but has the tools to back his words up.

RANKED THIS LOW:
While Caguioa has had a lot of championships and accolades with the Kings, The Spark has yet to gain respect from the PBA people. Caguioa is not getting any younger and the opportunities for him to have a MVP are growing thin. Add also the fact that Caguioa figured in an injury that sidelined him in the latter part of the 2000’s. If he can continue to score well, he’ll likely break the 10,000-points mark.




35 JAYJAY HELTERBRAND
HELTERSKELTER
2000 – present

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
1x MVP
2x Mythical Five
2x Best Player of the Conference
1x Finals MVP
2x All-Star MVP
7x All-Star
500 3-Points Made
Top 25: Assists Average
Top 25: 3-Point Percentage
1x Season Champion: Total Assists

RANKED THIS HIGH:
One half of the Fast and the Furious tandem of Ginebra, his biggest break came when Mark Caguioa got injured and he was forced to carry the Kings on his back. The results were successful for Helterskelter as he became the second Ginebra player to win the MVP award. Helterbrand is a top notch orchestrator that leads the way for the execution of Ginebra’s run and gun attack.

RANKED THIS LOW:
Let’s face it – the only reason why Jayjay got the MVP award is because his fellow Bandanna brother wasn’t there to share his spotlight. Jayjay also started as a backup for Bal David and in his tenure he has missed a lot of games. In 2003, he sat out for a season because Ginebra refused to offer him the max pay given that he is just The Flash’s backup.




36 SAMBOY LIM
THE SKYWALKER
1986 – 97

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
2x Mythical Ten
Hall of Fame
25 Greatest Players in the PBA
Almost played in the 1986 Madrid FIBA World Championship 
4x All-Star
5,000 Points
Top 25: Scoring Average
Top 25: Free Throw Percentage
1x Season Champion: Free Throws Made

RANKED THIS HIGH:
It was every kid’s dream to soar and fly a la Samboy Lim. Also called “The Dragon”, the former Letran Knight would master the art of floating and jamming which at that time, was rare for us “little people”. Coming from the awesome Northern Consolidated Cement RP squad, Lim would later on help the also Cojuangco-owned San Miguel squad to a grand slam in 1990.

RANKED THIS LOW:
There are a lot of fanboys that would rip this article out which is why I said BEST CAREERS and not GREATEST PLAYERS. The thing is – Ato Agustin, despite all of his talents – will never be breathe in the same league as Samboy and yet Agustin has won one MVP and three Mythical Five citations while Samboy could only show two Mythical Tens in his resume. There is a simple explanation for this thought – staying power. Throughout his PBA career, Samboy was rarely healthy. Because of his eagerness to fly, players would grab the chance to ground him. Sometimes, opposing defenders wouldn’t do anything to Samboy and we will still see him slip and hurt himself in the process. In my honest opinion, if Samboy Lim wasn’t injury prone, the Atom Bomb wouldn’t be ranked this high in the list.




37 ARWIND SANTOS
THE SPIDERMAN
2006 – present

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
4x Mythical Five
1x Mythical Ten
1x Best Player of the Conference 
1x Finals MVP
Rookie of the Year
1x Defensive Player of the Year
5x All-Defensive Team
3x All-Star

RANKED THIS HIGH:
By ranking Samboy Lim low and by rating Arwind Santos, again people will shit on this list. However, with four Mythical five citations and a slew of major achievements, Arwind has done more in so little time than what others did in the course of their career. Just when people thought his game will slow down when he got traded to San Miguel/Petron, he made people think otherwise.

RANKED THIS LOW:
If you check out his stats, you’ll see that he has at least one point, rebound, assist, steal, and block per game. Unless the injury bug bites Arwind (i.e. The Penny Hardaway Syndrome), sky’s the limit for The Spiderman. With the rate he is playing, he’ll easily grab 5,000 points, 2,000 defensive rebounds, and other achievement awards in no time.




38 OLSEN RACELA
RARA
1993 – 2011

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
2x Mythical Five
3x Mythical Ten
1x Finals MVP
6x All-Star
5,000 Points
2,000 Assists
500 Steals
500 3-Points Made
Top 10: Free Throw Percentage
Top 25: 3-Point Percentage

RANKED THIS HIGH:
He was fast, he organized the plays, and he can electrify. This pass-first point guard was once hailed as the best point guard in the PBA during the early 2000’s because of his gung-ho plays that gave San Miguel multiple championships. Despite him also remembered for the debacle that happened in Busan, Racela is a well-known clutch performer and momentum defuser.

RANKED THIS LOW:
He wasn’t the big time quarterback at the start of his career. He played second fiddle for Dindo Pumaren during his early years playing for Purefoods. He also cherished the role as the support for the Two Dannys when San Miguel was title-hunting in the early 2000’s. Perhaps the best sign that he was on his way out was the carousel of point guards San Miguel kept on claiming that stopped when Alex Cabagnot came to the squad.  




39 MANNY VICTORINO
THE MAIN MAN
1981 – 96

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
3x Mythical Five
Most Improved Player
5x All-Star
5,000 Points
2,000 Defensive Rebounds
1,000 Offensive Rebounds
500 Blocks
1,500 Free Throws Made
1x Season Champion: Total Blocks

RANKED THIS HIGH:
The early 80’s never really produced marquee men (with the exception of the pioneers) but if there are notables, then you have Manny Victorino. Playing for Great Taste/Presto, Victorino proved to be a prolific scorer that could have presided the likes of Jun Limpot and Dennis Espino. He is also a hard-nosed defender as well as a big-time rebounder. 

RANKED THIS LOW:
Manny Victorino no doubt is a marquee player. However after his Great Taste/Presto stint, Victorino became the marquee player for cellar-dwelling squads. This fact made it difficult for Victorino to score achievement awards. After stints with Pepsi and Ginebra, Victorino had his final pit stop at Purefoods where he became a role player.




40 RUDY HATFIELD
THE H-BOMB
2000 – 11

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
1x Mythical Five
2x Mythical Ten
1x Best Player of the Conference
1x Finals MVP
1x Defensive Player of the Year 
2x All-Defensive Team
3x All-Star
2,000 Defensive Rebounds
Top 10: Rebounding Average
1x Season Champion: Total Defensive Rebounds
1x Season Champion: Total Offensive Rebounds
1x Season Champion: Total Rebounds
1x Season Champion: Total Steals

RANKED THIS HIGH:
Rudy Hatfield is one of the best rebounders the league has ever seen. Despite his size, he can outplay bigger opponents when it comes to hauling boards. He rose to fame as Jeff Cariaso’s tag team partner when they led the Coca-Cola Tigers to numerous titles in the 2000’s. When he was traded to Ginebra, Hatfield also produced great numbers despite being in a star-studded squad.   

RANKED THIS LOW:
Technically Hatfield is a 12-year pro. However, he didn’t exactly have an ideal career. When Hatfield was at his peak, he was severely hounded by the Bureau of Immigration. The ordeal was too rough for Hatfield that even his mother was placed under scrutiny. Also, as exemplified by his actions, Hatfield has settling issues. Had not for his fireman/wrestling aspirations fused with his citizenship problems, he could have been a MVP in the league.


So I bet this phase of my list is controversial. Like I said, this is not a greatest players list so if you think saying he did what to some player will help... it won’t.

See you after the next batch!

Game over!

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