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By: Calvin D. Cordova April 09,2015 - 11:45 AM

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Asia’s first play-for-pay league, marked its 40th anniversary last night, highlighted by the presentation  of its 40 Greatest Players.

But one personality, arguably the greatest PBA player ever, was conspicuously missing in the event held at the Newport Performing Arts Theatre in Resorts World Manila.

Ramon “El Presidente” Fernandez was supposed to receive yet another accolade but the four-time PBA MVP decided to stay put.

Fernandez, now based in Cebu City, cited a few reasons why he decided to skip the event.

“They have already recognized me in the first batch of 25 (Greatest Players). I feel no need to go through the hassle of going to Manila and attend the event,” said Fernandez, a Grand Slam winner with San Miguel Beer.

Fernandez also rued the exclusion of some players from the list.

“In the first batch, I didn’t totally agree with a very few choices, but of course that is personal. They may had a criteria for selecting the first 25 that I didn’t know.”

For Fernandez, the addition of the new set of players was untimely.

“I didn’t or don’t agree of adding 15 more for the 40th anniversary. They first did it in the 25th year so I figured it should be on the 50th. But again that is my personal view, the PBA officialdom may have other thoughts in mind,” he said.

The manner how the new set of players were selected also puzzled Fernandez.

“The haste that the last selection committee in selecting the additional 15 is mind boggling to me. Na fastbreak? Na bulldozed? Is it true that they did it in less that three hours? At the very least it smacks of favoritism. No focus and commitment to the task given to them. I’ve always believed that awards, citations and the like, should be gauged by what you’ve done inside the basketball court, in this instance, and not in the boardroom,” he said.

Several sectors have questioned why some players were not on the list although they deserved to be there.

“That’s part of the reason why I did not attend. The exclusion of several players who I personally believe should be there..”

The likes of Abe King, Arnie Tuadles, Nelson Asaytono, Bong Hawkins and Danny Siegle should have been included, said Fernandez.

“Players who made an impact or guided and helped their team win games and championships should have been included,” he added. “No active players, they should be retired first. Something like you cant be considered in the Hall of Fame before 10 years have elapsed, something like that. That is why I said they should have done it in the 50th anniversary.”

Aside from Fernandez, those who made it to the 25 Greatest Players in the league’s silver anniversary celebration in 2000 were Robert Jaworski, , Alvin Patrimonio, Bogs Adornado, Abet Guidaben, Benjie Paras, Atoy Co, Freddie Hubalde, Philip Cezar, Ricky Brown, Johnny Abarrientos, Ato Agustin, Francis Arnaiz, Allan Caidic, Hector Calma, Jerry Codinera, Kenneth Duremdes, Bernie Fabiosa, Danny Florencio, Jojo Lastimosa, Lim Eng Beng, Samboy Lim, Ronnie Magsanoc, Vergel Meneses and Manny Paner.

New additions are two-time MVP winners Danny Ildefonso, Willie Miller and James Yap, one-time MVP awardees Asi Taulava, Eric Menk, Kelly Williams, Jayjay Helterbrand, Jimmy Alapag, Mark Caguioa, and Arwind Santos, Jayson Castro, Marc Pingris, Kerby Raymundo, Chito Loyzaga, and Marlou Aquino.

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TAGS: PBA, PBA MVP, Ramon Fernandez

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