MANILA, MARCH 15, 2007
(STAR) By Joaquin Henson - Coach Ron Jacobs and pioneer pro Manny Paner were the only unanimous choices of 14 nominees endorsed yesterday by a seven-man selection committee for induction into the PBA Hall of Fame on April 8.

A review of the nominees will be made by the 11-man honors committee on March 20. At least six votes of the final screening body are needed to confirm a Hall of Famer.

The honors committee is made up of PBA chairman Ricky Vargas, vice chairman Tony Chua, commissioner Noli Eala, former chairman Ely Capacio, a PBA governor to be named (likely to be Joaquin Trillo), former PBA player Freddie Webb, two representatives from TV, two representatives from print and former commissioner Jun Bernardino.

The enshrinement is scheduled during an Araneta Coliseum doubleheader featuring Air21 vs Talk ’N‘ Text and Red Bull vs Barangay Ginebra this Easter Sunday.

The selection committee, headed by Franz Pumaren, met at the PBA office in Libis the other day to choose the nominees. Deliberations took over three hours.

Aside from Jacobs and Paner, the other nominees were Abet Guidaben, Freddie Hubalde, Glenn McDonald, Danny Florencio, Ricardo Brown, Norman Black, Dante Silverio, Domingo Itchon, Antonio Siddayao, Pinggoy Pengson, Romy Kintanar and Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.

Each member of the committee submitted his personal nominees and the top vote-getters were named to the roster of 14. There were 13 others who received votes.

Under the guidelines set for the Hall of Fame, only players, coaches, league and team officials (including team owners) and media are eligible for induction. A player must be retired for five years or must have played his last PBA game at least five years before the start of the nomination process to qualify as a nominee. A coach must be either retired or must not have been part of the PBA or a PBA team at least five years before the start of the nomination process to be eligible for enshrinement. Media awards are on a posthumous basis.

Two years ago, the PBA inducted its first batch of Hall of Famers. The 12 honorees were Bogs Adornado, Ramon Fernandez, Robert Jaworski, Philip Cezar, Atoy Co, Francis Arnaiz, Baby Dalupan, Leo Prieto, Emerson Coseteng, Rudy Salud, Danny Floro and Joe Cantada.

Cojuangco was nominated for his role as team manager of the Northern Cement amateur guest team that won the 1985 reinforced conference title and for introducing the concept of playing the national squad in the PBA as a pivotal step towards unifying the country’s basketball program.

McDonald, an NBA veteran who played for the Boston Celtics, was cited for his role as import and coach in the PBA. He set an outstanding example as a role model during his five-year PBA tour of duty and continues to maintain close ties with Filipino friends. McDonald was recently in Manila for a visit.

Jacobs won his only PBA title with Northern Cement and also coached San Miguel Beer and the national team. He lives in Manila. Paner was named to the PBA’s first-ever mythical five in 1975 and played 12 seasons for four teams, averaging 12.4 points and 7.0 rebounds in 473 games.

Pumaren said the list of 14 nominees was carefully reviewed and screened from a pool of 27 candidates. The qualifications were scrutinized to suit the strict eligibility requirements for induction into the Hall of Fame, added Pumaren. The selection committee members were Fritz Gaston, PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial, PBA operations manager Rickie Santos, PBA technical group manager Perry Martinez, Ronnie Nathanielsz of Standard/Today, Tito Talao of Bulletin/Tempo and this writer.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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