Since entering the league in 1988, Purefoods has been the PBA’s glamour team. The retirement of Alvin Patrimonio and the name change from Purefoods to B-MEG has barely dampened the passion of fans for the team. In the initial installment of The List, a new regular feature on InterAKTV, we count down the ten greatest players in franchise history.
But before we get to the Top 10, here are some honorable mentions:
Peter June Simon
A former MBA Discovery of the Year and PBL Most Valuable Player, Simon has spent most of his career as a super-sub backing up James Yap at the shooting guard spot. With the departure of Ryan Gregorio, Simon has found more time in the starting lineup.
Cabahug was part of the trade that sent Jojo Lastimosa to Alaska, and quickly gave Purefoods the lethal outside gunner they needed to open things up for Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codiñera down low. He had the best years of his career with the Hotdogs, but left acrimoniously because of contract issues with the management.
Castillo was Purefoods’ star player during the team’s dark ages, straddling the period when Patrimonio was no longer dominant, and James Yap hadn’t found his groove in the pro league yet. “The Golden Boy” had a happy ending toward the end of his career, helping the team as a role player win the 2006 Philippine Cup title.
The legendary “El President” was Purefoods’ first superstar after the Ayala squad bought the old Tanduay franchise, but his term didn’t last long. He led the Hotdogs to championship appearances in their first two conferences, but was shipped to San Miguel after accusations that he didn’t play his best during the 1988 All-Filipino finals against arch-rivals Robert Jaworski and Añejo.
10. Roger Yap(2001-2002, 2005-2012)
With Roger Yap, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. He was never a big scorer, but throughout his tenure with Purefoods, and later, B-MEG, he served as the vocal leader for the team whose top players were the quiet James Yap and the emotional Kerby Raymundo.
As the starting point guard for two Philippine Cup title-winning teams in 2006 and 2010, Roger was the team’s backcourt defensive anchor, allowing James and Peter June Simon to focus on their offense. His efforts were rewarded, as he was named to the Mythical First Team in 2006 and the Mythical Second Team in 2010 despite modest statistics.
9. Glenn Capacio(1988-1995)
A former star scorer for Far Eastern University in the UAAP, Capacio’s calling card in the professional ranks was his lockdown defense. He was vital to the Purefoods cause, often tasked to take on the most dangerous scorers of the opposing teams such as Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, Ato Agustin, Vergel Meneses, and even Jojo Lastimosa. Plus, he had a killer three-point shot that kept defenses honest.
8. Jojo Lastimosa(1988-1990)
“The Helicopter” only played three seasons for Purefoods, but he made those three seasons count. The 1988 Rookie of the Year, he helped define the Hotdogs’ character in the early years of the franchise as young men who wouldn’t back down from any challenge. His last conference with Purefoods in the 1990 Reinforced Conference was also the team’s first PBA crown.
7. Marc Pingris(2005-2008, 2009-present)
The finals Most Valuable Player of Purefoods’ first championship in the post-Alvin Patrimonio era was neither James Yap nor Kerby Raymundo. It was Marc Pingris, a boundless ball of energy who plays exactly like Slam Dunk’s Hanamichi Sakuragi. It was no coincidence that the team’s performance swooned after he was traded to San Miguel, and that the team regained its championship form after his return. A versatile defender who can guard all five positions, he is just as valuable to the squad as any of its stars on the offensive end.
6. Dindo Pumaren(1989-1993, 1996-2000)
During the early years of Purefoods, the team had to contend against all-time great point guards like Hector Calma, Ronnie Magsanoc, and Johnny Abarrientos. But the Hotdogs were never outmatched because they had “The Bullet” Dindo Pumaren, one of the league’s best defenders at the position who doubled as the team’s court general. Even though Alvin Patrimonio and Codiñera were the stars of Purefoods, Pumaren was the Hotdogs’ vocal leader who kept everyone in line.
5. Rey Evangelista(1994-2009)
Quiet, steady brilliance. That’s what Rey Evangelista brought to the table for the Purefoods franchise in his 16 seasons with the team. He did everything the team asked him — battling bigger men for offensive rebounds, defending the opposing team’s best player, hitting the open three-pointer, even playing point-forward in unconventional lineups. And he did it with little fanfare; do you even remember what his voice sounds like?
4. Kerby RaymundoSure, Raymundo can be too erratic and too emotional, especially at the end of games. He doesn’t always make the best decisions and can be error-prone.
But at his very best, there was no other player in the PBA with Raymundo’s combination of strength, speed, and skill. At his peak, he was damn near unstoppable, punishing smaller opponents in the post, crossing over slower opponents at the top of the key, and banging bodies with behemoths for rebounds at both ends of the floor. When Kerby was good, he was really, really good.
3. Jerry Codiñera(1988-1999)
It broke the hearts of millions of Purefoods fans when “The Defense Minister” was traded by Purefoods to Mobiline in 1999 in exchange for Andy Seigle. But Codiñera himself seemed to hold no bitterness toward his old team after the trade. In 2000, when the Hotdogs returned to the Governors’ Cup finals, he was asked in a television program who he wanted to win the title. Codiñera answered, candidly: “Siyempre, Purefoods, for sentimental reasons, ‘di ba?”
He may have been traded, but he never stopped being a Purefoods Hotdog. He will forever remain in the hearts of Purefoods fans, just as the team remained in his.
2. James Yap(2004-present)
Purefoods fans have Ryan Gregorio to thank for James Yap’s presence on the team today. In the 2004 draft, the coach struck a deal with Shell, who had the first pick, which was asked not to select Yap. In exchange, the Hotdogs agreed to trade center Billy Mamaril to the Turbo Chargers in exchange for Eddie Laure.
His production and success on the court speak for themselves. But what made Yap a critical pick for the franchise was that, in the twilight of Alvin Patrimonio’s career, the team was starting to become irrelevant. Beyond his game on the court, it was his quiet charisma that allowed B-MEG to carry on the torch that began with the earliest Purefoods teams.
1. Alvin Patrimonio(1988-2005)
“The Captain” remains the face of the franchise almost seven years after his retirement. His four Most Valuable Player awards are testament to his greatness, and it’s an accomplishment he shares with his idol, Ramon Fernandez.
When it comes to career numbers, Fernandez leads Patrimonio in almost every category, which handicaps the latter in all “Greatest Player Ever” discussions. But here’s something that you can say about Patrimonio that you couldn’t say about Fernandez: he played to win, and left his heart and soul on the court in each and every game he played. For Patrimonio, it’s not even about whether he won or lost; it’s how he played the game.
what can u say Bmeg fanatics