There's a lot of written piece/opinions on each PBA team's top 10 greatest players, from Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel Beer and Purefoods, how about the Gokongwei franchise' 10 best players who, at one time or another help the team win 6 PBA championships from 1975-1992. Here's my choices:
1. Ricardo Brown (1983-1987) - obviously the best player Great Taste ever had, 5 titles with this team, ROY in '83 and MVP in '85, and scoring numerous 30-40 point outputs.
2. Allan Caidic (1987-1992) - second best, two championships with Great Taste/Presto, with the all-time record 79 points and third-best single-game output of 68 points. also won ROY and MVP while playing for this team.
3. Manny Victorino (1981-1986, 1989-1990) although it was Ricardo Brown's entry that made Great Taste a championship-caliber team, it was Victorino first in '81 who put this team on the map as a franchise player, and one of the only few 6"5 centers at that time.
4. Abe King (1985-1992)
5. Arnie Tuadles (1984, 1987-1988, 1990-1992) - came back with this team twice and each time won a title.
6. Bogs Adornado (1983-1984)
7. Philip Cezar (1987-1988)
8. Joy Carpio (1983-1990) - the only player to have been part of all 6 championships of Great Taste, more of a 6th man role.
9. Gerry Esplana (1990-1992) - Rookie of the year who outshown his fellow rookie and teammate Peter Jao, Presto's overall number 1 pick.
10. Zaldy Realubit (1989-1992) - his performance in the 1990 All-Filipino finals landed him a spot in the national team as a replacement for Jerry Codinera.
Manny Victorino is one of the most underrated big man in the PBA along with Yoyoy Villamin.. can you tell who had a better Career? Manny Victorino, Danny Ildefonso, Ranidel De Ocampo or Kerby Raymundo?
To becomes Asia's Best, we need to compete against the World's Best..
As for my top players:
1. Ricky Brown
2. Allan Caidic
3. Manny Victorino
4. Arnie Tuadles
5. Philip Cezar
6. Abe King
7. Bogs Adornado
8. Joy Carpio
9. Willie Pearson
10. Winston Crite (import)
It would have been nice to see the oldtimers like Florendo Ritualo, Sr. and Danny Pribhdas in this elite cast of 10. Maybe even Manny Paner who played for the Discoverers for around 4 seasons from 1978 to 1981. Or what about Rafael "Cho" Sison, the first Great Taste player to win the ROY award in 1981? But in all honesty, they won't make that list even if we force-fit them there.
I'll limit my choices to the Top 5 instead:
5. Arnie Tuadles - the hero of the 1990 AFC finals Game 7
4. Manny Victorino - the other hero in the 1990 AFC finals Game 7 and the pillar of strength of Great Taste from 1981 to 1987 and again in 1990 to 1991
3. Abe King - became the league's top defensive player during his halcyon days with the Coffeemakers
2. Allan Caidic - one of the most prolific and gifted shooters of all time
1. Ricardo Brown - responsible for giving GTC 4 titles in two seasons from 1984 to 1985
Estoy's greatest years were with RTO from 1975 to 1977. He made it to the Mythical 5 in 1975, if I'm not mistaken, and averaged I think 16ppg for his entire career. Not bad for this pigeon-chested sweet shooter from the Visayas. When Estrada joined Toyota in 1978, he averaged close to 20 minutes per game as he had to be part of Toyota's rotation. He also had trouble with Dante Silverio at the start of the 1979 3rd Conference where he, along with Ramon Fernandez and Abe King, were suspended by Silverio for "not giving their best." He later joined Presto starting in 1980 and was a starter for the Ice Cream Makers. He was still a crack shot from the outside but he was advancing in age also that considerably slowed him down.
And yes, Presto / Great Taste was not a contender in any of the conferences from 1975 until 1982, even when they brought in top imports like Lew Massey (yes, Massey first played for Presto before hooking up with Gilbey's), Lew Brown, Dana Lewis, Darryl Smith, Nino Samuel, among others. They finally hit the mark with Norman Black in 1983. Black, by then, had already played for Tefilin in 1981 and San Miguel Beer in 1982.
How about adding Willie Generalao to the list? He was a vital cog in Presto's 1990 All-Filipino crown as the starting point guard. The 1980 Rookie of the Year also mentored that season's top rookie, Gerry Esplana.
Generalao, a product of the University of the Visayas, played the 1989 and 1990 seasons with Presto before playing his final season in 1991 with Pepsi and then retiring.