GREATEST  PLAYERS RELIVE  PBA  GLORY  YEARS

MANILA, April 6, 2005 
(STAR) By Nelson Beltran - It may not have the old fire of the Crispa-Toyota revival, but an exhibition match featuring the PBA’s 25 greatest players will surely have the trimmings of a classic showdown.

The event will highlight the league’s grand celebration of its 30th founding anniversary next month.

PBA commissioner Noli Eala is now finalizing the details of the spectacle after getting the approval of the board of governors in a meeting Monday at the PBA office inside the Ultra Complex in Pasig.

The game is tentatively set May 28 at the Araneta Coliseum, proceeding the induction of 30 personalities into the PBA Hall of Fame – another highlight of the league’s pearl anniversary celebration.

Named the PBA’s 25 greatest players during the league’s silver anniversary in 2000 are multi-MVP winners Ramon Fernandez, Alvin Patrimonio, Bogs Adornado, Abet Guidaben and Benjie Paras and fellow greats Robert Jaworski, Atoy Co, Philip Cezar, Freddie Hubalde, Bernie Fabiosa, Lim Eng Beng, Manny Panner, Danny Florencio, Francis Arnaiz, Samboy Lim, Allan Caidic, Johnny Abarrientos, Kenneth Duremdes, Vergel Meneses, Ato Agustin, Ronnie Magsanoc, Ricky Brown, Jerry Codinera, Jojo Lastimosa and Hector Calma.

Still a big question is who will be given the honors to call the shots for the two teams.

But who ever are tapped as coaches will also be tasked to divide the 25 greatest players through drafting.

Invitations are now being distributed to the players – all but four of them have retired from the game.

The only top players still actively playing in the league are Duremdes, Meneses, Abarrientos and Codiñera. Patrimonio, Lim, Caidic, Agustin and Calma have been appearing once in a while with the touring SMC All-Stars.

Fernandez, Jaworski, Adornado, Co, Cezar, Guidaben, Hubalde and Fabiosa were last seen in action during the Crispa-Toyota reunion game two years ago.

It was history revisited with the Toyota Tamaraws edging the Crispa Redmanizers on the endgame heroics of Fernandez and Jaworski.

Incidentally, the finest stars of these rival teams are among 69 personalities who passed the initial screening for the PBA Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, Ryan Fletcher finally debuts with Sta. Lucia Realty ironically versus his former team Barangay Ginebra today in the Gran Matador PBA Fiesta Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

Shell, which currently shares the lead with Purefoods and San Miguel Beer with identical 4-2 cards, seeks to bolt out of the pack as it plays Red Bull Barako in the day’s other game.

San Miguel and Purefoods part ways tomorrow as they clash in a road game in Gen. Santos City.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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