The Legends of the UAAP, Part 2
As the next UAAP season begins, we continue our look at the legends of collegiate basketball; those men whose names are inevitably invoked in the discussion of a University's grand sports legacy.
Ateneo De Manila University
Known for his athleticism (and thunder thighs), Jolas Lastimosa was a Blue Eagle standout even before ADMU's beefed-up basketball program started producing consistent title contenders. Even if he didn't win any championships or individual awards while donning the blue-and-white, his talent and competitiveness were enough to make an impact on his entry to the PBA.
Lastimosa became Rookie of the Year in 1988, outshining batchmates and Purefoods teammates Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codiñera, and Glenn Capacio that season. Over at Alaska, Lastimosa transformed into a more dynamic and efficient scorer. He was chiefly responsible for Alaska's nine (out of 13) championship titles.
Runner up: LA Tenorio
LA Tenorio never got his MVP award but would arguably be one of the main reasons why teammates Rich Alvarez and Enrico Villanueva were able to win theirs. Tenorio was known for his all-around game, but it would be his timely plays during crucial moments that would make him one of the best point guards to ever come out of the Ateneo camp.
As a professional baller, Tenorio started slow with limited playing time. His later transfer to Alaska would prove his reputation as one of the best guards around, leading the squad to a triumphant championship run in 2010. His heroic 2012 Jones Cup performance was also unforgettable. He carried the Philippine national team to a historic 76-75 title win over Team USA and was able to bag the top individual honor for that year.
Back in college, Hector Calma was part of Adamson's sole men's senior championship title, won in 1978. His already impressive showing in the UAAP would garner him a spot in the national team as an amateur.
Considered by many as one of the finest pure point guards in Philippine basketball, Hector "The Director" Calma became a PBA darling for his more cerebral take on basketball and his quiet demeanor. He was a cornerstone of San Miguel's greatest championship era. This winning tradition defined his pro career, culminating in their 1989 Grand Slam year. It is widely thought that Calma was de facto assistant coach to Norman Black, shaping the team's strategy on the court. He would earn a total of nine trophies with the squad.
Runner up: Kenneth Duremdes
By far the best player to ever come out of Adamson University, the definitive King Falcon had a notable UAAP career, putting up monster numbers despite a struggling team. This and his PBL MVP nod would be enough for the PBA to notice his talent, and he would be tapped for the national team for the 1994 Asian Games.
Captain Marbel's professional career started with him playing reliever to another former MVP, wingman Vergel Meneses, while with Sunkist. It would be his move to Alaska in 1998 that would later prove the hype that surrounded him from the very beginning. He soon became an MVP and four-time champion with the Aces, and he'd continue putting up MVP numbers with different squads thereafter.
De La Salle University
Zandro "The Main Man" Limpot, Jr. lorded over the league all throughout his college years. Aside from winning two UAAP titles with the DLSU Green Archers, he also became a rare three-time MVP awardee.
He entered the PBA in 1993 and won the Rookie of the Year honor. However, his long stint with Sta. Lucia failed to net him any championship title. It was not until his final year with Purefoods that Limpot finally managed to win a ring. With that personal victory, consistent monster numbers, and mythical team berths, his 14-year run is one of the most striking careers to emerge from the Green Archers.
Runner up: Mark Cardona
Mark "Captain Hook" Cardona remains one of the most popular UAAP alumni. He was able to lead the "gang green" to two UAAP titles against archrival Ateneo, with an on-court performance defined by intensity and unorthodox moves.
His stint with Talk ‘N Text brought multiple 30+-point performances that proved Cardona's offensive mettle. In 2008, he finally won his first championship. Although he has yet to lead his new team Meralco toward their first PBA title, his undeniable talent makes that seem inevitable.
Far Eastern University
The Flying A, Johnny Abarrientos proved that height wasn't everything. In his college days, Abarrientos led the Tamaraws to two UAAP titles, eventually winning a Most Valuable Player award. The King Tamaraw would later enter the PBA and further defy the norm in Philippine basketball.
In the PBA Johnny A was fearless in getting to the basket despite being 5'7" in height. His speedy crossover moves would always leave the audience and colleagues in awe, and his pinpoint passing was perfect for Alaska's triangle offense. He led the team to nine championships, including a Grand Slam in 1996, during which he was also named MVP.
Runner up: Arwind Santos
Arwind Santos was one of the main engineers of the FEU Tamaraws' comeback to the UAAP winners' circle in 2003. He led the team two more times and gained two MVP nods in the process. He was a versatile player who played multiple positions for the team.
When Santos stepped into the pro ranks for Air 21, he gained a reputation for being tough at both ends of the court. His shot-blocking earned him the Defensive Player of the Year trophy twice. When he transferred to Petron in 2009, his game got even better, leading the lineup to an unexpected championship against powerhouse Talk ‘N Text in the 2010-2011 season.
Who are your UAAP legends?