From Bogs Adornado to June Mar Fajardo, let’s take a look back to the past MVPs from Golden Era of PBA up to current era of June Mar Fajardo streak of MVP wins. Although Fajardo won a 5-streak MVP in his prime, he was not yet the greatest PBA player of all time, there is a lot of discussion and voting from fans and former players to be made to hail the GOAT of PBA history.
To celebrate the PBA’s Greatest Players of All Time, here are the list of MVPs from 1975 to current era of PBA.
1975 – Bogs Adornado
Bogs Adornado is the first MVP of the first professional basketball league in Asia. He was also a FIBA Asia Cup MVP in 1973.
1976 – Bogs Adornado
First back-to-back MVP of the PBA, who also helped Crispa to get their first Grandslam title in just PBA’s second year of existing. *To win a grandslam title, you must win all 3 conferences in PBA within a year.
1977 – Freddie Hubalde
The next great Crispa Redmanizer’s MVP that dominated the PBA in its early stages was Freddie Hubalde. He was part of two Crispa grand slam teams in 1976 and 1983. He became famous for his off-the-glass jumpers and tight under-goal stabs (“dukot”). On defense, he utilized his patented “back tap” when stripping the player he is guarding of possession.
1978 – Robert Jaworski
One of the most beloved PBA players of all-time, Robert Jaworski, has been part of the Toyota-Crispa rivalry first before transcended his popularity playing for Ginebra and their “Never Say Die” attitude.
1979 – Atoy Co
One of the players that turned showbiz actors was Atoy Co. His nickname was Fortune Cookie for his shooting ability to score in-and-outside the three point line. Atoy Co was part of the all-star lineup of the Crispa Redmanizers through their dominating years in the PBA.
1980 – Philip Cezar
The fourth MVP of Crispa Redmanizers star-studded lineup, Philip Cezar, was the first big man to win PBA MVP award. Some analyst consider Cezar the best “thinking” power forward in the history of the PBA. He is the perfect example of a power forward with finesse.
1981 – Bogs Adornado
The first hat-trick of MVP in PBA was won by Bogs Adornado. He may not be famous as Ramon Fernandez or Robert Jaworski but he silently dominating the league with his presence with his team, U/Tex Wranglers.
1982 – Ramon Fernandez
The second and the last Toyota player to win the MVP award before they vanished in the league in 1983 was Ramon Fernandez. This is the first of four MVP awards that “El Presidente” won in 22 years playing in the league. When Toyota got disbanded, he also severed ties with his former teammate Jawo and made a rivalry between them.
1983 – Abet Guidaben
Before Crispa Redmanizers got vanished in the PBA in 1984, they got one last time to herald a MVP in Abet Guidaben. The fifth player from Crispa’s star-studded lineup that hailed two grand slam titles. Time will only tell if there will be a next team that distributed the MVP award to its 5 best players on its roster. Crispa Redmanizers truly dominated the league with championship rings and MVP trophies.
1984 – Ramon Fernandez
After the Toyota-Crispa saga in PBA ended, Manila Beer formed their own super team with Ramon Fernandez, Atoy Co, and Lim Eng Beng. The experiment resulted in 3 final appearance but no championships through 1984-1986 seasons. Their only highlight was Ramon Fernandez winning his second MVP trophy in his time with the Manila Beer Brewmasters.
1985 – Ricardo Brown
The first NBA-PBA player to win a PBA MVP award as he was drafted by the Houston Rockets in the third round (59th overall) in 1979 NBA Draft. He was also the 2nd player to win the coveted Rookie of the Year Award and also be named to the Mythical Five Team at the same year.
1986 – Ramon Fernandez
The third team “El Presidente” got his third MVP, the Tanduay Rhum Makers got a three championship with the help of Fernandez to win the 1986 Reinforced and All-Filipino Conference and 1987 Open Conference.
1987 – Abet Guidaben
The big man rival of Ramon Fernandez, Abet Guidaben, also got his second MVP to another team, San Miguel Beermen. Before “El Presidente” transferred in San Miguel, Guidaben established his presence as the go-to-guy for the Beermen.
1988 – Ramon Fernandez
Ramon Fernandez’ fourth team to win his MVP award, the San Miguel Beermen. As a millennial, we all knew that Fernandez was the greatest Beermen of all-time as he won 4 MVPs and his last team was the San Miguel Beermen. The reality is, Ramon was dominating the PBA scene as he won the award every other year in 1982, 1984, 1986, and 1988 despite having different teammates on different teams.
1989 – Benjie Paras
The first Rookie-MVP ever in PBA, Benjie Paras from University of the Philippines, was the first overall pick of the 1989 PBA draft. Ten years later, he won another MVP title and amassing four PBA championship titles in that span. He maximized his popularity and charm by joining show business and had a career as a comedian.
1990 – Allan Caidic
Allan “The Triggerman” Caidic was a FIBA Asia Cup MVP in 1985 before he was drafted #1 overall in 1987 PBA draft. He was the undisputed sharp shooter in PBA history as he scored the most points in a single game with 79 points.
1991 – Alvin Patrimonio
Alvin “The Captain” Patrimonio first played for YCO Shine Masters in the Philippine Basketball League before he became a phenom in PBA. His first of four MVP awards was in 1991 with Purefoods Tender Juicy Hotdogs. Trivia: He was not drafted in the PBA, he was directly hired by Purefoods in 1988.
1992 – Ato Agustin
Ato Agustin was the steal of the 1989 PBA draft. He was just a second round pick out of Lyceum of the Philippines University by the San Miguel Beermen. In just three years in the league, he got the MVP award in 1992 season. He was also PBA’s Most Improved Player in 1991.
1993 – Alvin Patrimonio
Alvin Patirimonio’s dominance in the court in his second MVP season helped Coney Island to win 1993 All-Filipino Cup title and also a finals appearance but eventually lose to Swift in 1993 Commissioner’s Cup title. Coach Chot Reyes was their head coach in Coney Island back then.
1994 – Alvin Patrimonio
In 1994 season, The Captain was named as the second ever to win MVP in back to back seasons. It was his third MVP season and he won the 1994 Commissioner’s Cup championship versus Alaska that year.
1995 – Vergel Meneses
Vergel “The Aerial Voyager” Meneses was the next high-flying phenom after Samboy Lim and the #1 overall pick of 1992 PBA draft. In just three years in the PBA, he won the MVP award. It showed that training and gaining experience in the PBL gave advantage to these young MVPs to dominate the league in span of short time.
1996 – Johnny Abarrientos
Johnny “The Flying A” Abarrientos was the 1996 PBA MVP after being drafted third overall in 1993 PBA draft. The grand slam title run with Alaska made him worthy of MVP award. In 1997, there are talks of Abarrientos’ potential participation in the NBA came, when Charlotte Hornets scout Joe Bettancourt offered Abarrientos a contract to participate in the Hornets’ pre-season camp but he eventually declined it to focus on his PBA career.
1997 – Alvin Patrimonio
The fourth MVP campaign for “The Captain” started with an All-Filipino Conference championship title over Gordon’s Gin. The Gordon’s Gin won the Commissioner’s Cup (where they didn’t reach the finals) then eventually lost to finals in the Governor’s Cup of 1997 season over Alaska.
1998 – Kenneth Duremdes
The Captain Marbel, Kenneth Duremdes, was drafted third overall by Sunkist Orange Juicers in 1995 before he and Jack Tanuan was traded to Alaska Milkmen for Dwight Lago and Boyet Fernandez. In his first year in Alaska Milkmen, Duremdes was named as the league’s Most Valuable Player at age 24 before leading the Philippines to a bronze-medal finish in the 1998 Asian Games.
1999 – Benjie Paras
After 10 years of the historic PBA Rookie-MVP, Benjie Paras once again won another MVP for Shell Turbo Chargers after his performance for winning back-to-back conference championship titles (1998 Governor’s and 1999 All-Filipino) for his franchise. He also won the 1999 Comeback player of the year award and Best Player of the Conference for 1999 Commissioner’s Cup.
2000 – Danny Ildefonso
Two years after being drafted #1 overall in 1998 PBA draft, Danny Ildefonso won the MVP award for his effort to win 4 conference titles in 1999 to 2000 seasons. His number one contender for the MVP award was his teammate Danny Seigle to form one-two punch for opposing teams.
2001 – Danny Ildefonso
The third player to win the back-to-back MVP awards, Danny Ildefonso with the help again with Danny Seigle and teammates to win 5 conference titles in 3 years. Danny Ildefonso became one of the rare players to have won all three major MVP awards in the league: regular season, all-star game, and finals MVP.
2002 – Willie Miller
The first overall draftee in 2001 PBA draft by Batang Red Bull Thunder, Willie Miller played a big role in helping Red Bull to win back-to-back Commissioner’s Cup in 2001 and 2002 with the help of Davonn Harp, Jimwell Torion, Junthy Valenzuela and Lordy Tugade.
2003 – Asi Taulava
In 2003, Asi Taulava became the second Fil-foreigner to win the MVP award after Ricardo Brown as he played his college days in BYU-Hawaii in USA. He helped the Phone Pals with his rookie teammate Jimmy Alapag to win the All-Filipino Championship while being named as the Best Player of the Conference in 2003.
2004-05 – Eric Menk
In 2004-2005 season, instead of the usual calendar year of February–December, the league changed its schedule to the current October–July format, while limiting the number of conferences from three to two. Eric Menk helped the Barangay Ginebra won back-to-back conference titles after long title drought since Gordon’s Gin won a conference title in 1997.
2005-06 – James Yap
The alternate ego for the word “James” or “King James” from the NBA, James Yap. Since entering the PBA, Yap has been selected to start every All-Star Game. He has won the All-Star MVP award in 2012. He was also part of grand slam title of San Mig Coffee in 2013-2014 season.
2006-07 – Willie Miller
Willie Miller second MVP came to his third team, the Alaska Aces, for winning the Fiesta Conference with Coach Tim Cone. They defeated his former team, Talk ‘N Text, in the finals. He found his groove with Alaska and Coach Tim Cone system after he got traded from the Talk ‘N Text. He lost his ball control because of Jimmy Alapag, the point guard of TNT, which hindered his shot creativity.
2007-08 – Kelly Williams
Another young blood who dominated the PBA during the early stages of their careers, Kelly Williams showed the rare athleticism for his size and dominate the league with his above the rim offense and high flying defense. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2007 and later won the MVP award the next season. He was also part of the 2008 PBA All-defensive team.
2008-09 – Jayjay Helterbrand
One of the surprising picks for MVP, Jayjay Helterbrand was known for the backcourt tandem of Mark Caguioa won the award despite of not winning championships for both conference in that league year. He played his whole PBA career in Ginebra franchise from 2000 to 2017.
2009-10 – James Yap
Four years after his first MVP award, James Yap once again won the award for Derby Ace Llamados (renamed but still Purefoods franchise) and made him the second Purefoods player to win 2 or more MVP awards after Alvin Patrimonio. That award made him also the second best player ever for the franchise.
2010-11 – Jimmy Alapag
When you see Jimmy Alapag, the first thing you could remember is leadership. His award is long over due and his contributions for the Philippine Basketball Team made him more valuable to the league. He was the best point guard in Asia at his prime and one of the well-respected players in Asia.
2011-12 – Mark Caguioa
If there is an alter-ego of King James in the PBA, there is also an alter-ego for Kobe Bryant in the PBA. Mark Caguioa is the fan favorite of the solid Ginebra fans and his cunning ability to score got him nicknamed “The Spark”.
2012-13 – Arwind Santos
The Spiderman of PBA, Arwind Santos involved in one of the most controversial teammate fights (with Renaldo Balkman) in the PBA before winning the MVP Award for the Petron Blaze Boosters. They don’t won any conference championships that year yet Arwind won the award and it was before the emergence of June Mar Fajardo.
2013-14 – June Mar Fajardo
The latest young blood to dominate the PBA in their early stages of their career, June Mar Fajardo still excelled in playing big boy basketball in trending fast-paced offense in the world of basketball. He got mentored by one of the best big man to play in PBA, Danny Ildefonso.
2014-15 – June Mar Fajardo
While his 2013-2014 MVP campaign didn’t yield a conference championship because of a dominating grand slam title run of San Mig Coffee, San Miguel got their first conference title since 2008-2009 Fiesta conference with the help of June Mar Fajardo. They won the Philippine and Governor’s cup titles in 2014-2015 season.
2015-16 – June Mar Fajardo
The first ever to do a three-peat MVP award in the PBA, The Kraken was known for his extraordinary size and finesse against opposing big men. His rival big men Greg Slaughter from their college year didn’t caught up with Fajardo to his meteoric rise in professional basketball.
2016-17 – June Mar Fajardo
The third ever to win four MVP award in PBA history, June Mar Fajardo was also the first to win four consecutive MVP awards in PBA history. It’s an impressive feat for a big man playing in modern era of basketball. His availability with the team contributes so much to their winning success and MVP streaks.
2017-18 – June Mar Fajardo
The first five-time MVP awardee in the PBA, and could be considered as the greatest PBA player of all-time for his achievements yet he still remain humble and didn’t need the attention to make a statement of being the greatest. His humility is the most important asset he could ever had and that will make him more hungry for more achievements to come.
It’s a wrap
The Philippine Basketball Association, the most watched sports entertainment in the Philippines historically is always dominated by young bloods after their college years. Their experience in development leagues helped this young bloods to mold their craft and came out as a finished product in professional league. Although our players are as talented as other countries players, team owners / managers and coaches should replicate the plays and conditioning of EuroLeague and NBA to keep up with basketball powerhouses in the world.