Manila Bulletin: PBA Legends turn back time
They came to the Cuneta Astrodome not to play competitive basketball but to help the organizer raise funds for free education of 200 college students of La Verdad College in Caloocan and Pampanga.
The 11-man PBA Legends team, led by playing coach Orly Bauzon, faced the Hoopsters in a one-game charity exhibition dubbed “Kahit Isang Araw Lang.”
The Cuneta Astrodome was already filled to the rafter even before the ex-pros arrived, and a loud roar rose from the gallery when the Legends entered the court in red uniform.
“Nakakataba ng puso ang mainit na pag salubong sa amin habang papasok kami sa court. Naalaala ko tuloy nong ako’y naglalaro pa sa Toyota,” said Bauzon when radio broadcaster Daniel Razon introduced them one by one.
“Sana maulit pa ito para makatulong uli kami sa mga charitable projects even in our little way,” said Bauzon.
Bauzon played alongside Robert Jaworski, Ramon Fernandez, Francis Arnaiz, Alberto ‘Big Boy’ Reynoso and Ernesto Estrada for Toyota during the early years of the PBA.
Bauzon, 66, is the husband of educator and former Philippine Sports commissioner Josie Bauzon.
Fans took pictures and had the Legends sign autographs on their shirts and notebooks before the start of the game.
The Legends, though, undermanned and slow because of advancing age, managed to eke out an 80-72 squeaker against the Hoopsters, led by Jeff Sander, veteran of the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association.
Coca Cola coach Kenneth Duremdes, known as ‘Captain Marbel’ led all scorers with 18 points and three rebounds, Vergel Meneses added 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Paul Alvarez 17 points and nine boards.
“Sa dami ng nanonood nasayahan kami. Nalaala ko tuloy yung naglalaro pa ako,” said Duremdes, who made four triples.
Fortunato Co of the famed Crispa Redmanizers and popularly known as the ‘Fortune Cookie,’ made the first basket after three minutes of the first quarter.
The Legends led 47-35, but the Hoopsters, led by Sanders, who scored 17 points and 12 rebounds, charged back to wrest the edge, 60-56.
The Legends, however, outscored the Hoopsters in the payoff period with Duremdes, Meneses, Alvarez and Jun Limpot orchestrating the attack to preserve the win.
The national wheelchair basketball team played 10 minutes exhibition game during halftime as added attraction.
The other ex-pros who turned back the hands of time were William ‘Bogs’ Adornado, Freddie Hubalde, Philip Cezar, Jerry Codiñera, and Vince Hizon. (Manila Bulletin/Tempo Sports)