The 90’s finally saw the ‘changing of the guards’, as the PBA’s – and the country’s – top cagers started to bow out one by one to the next generation stars. As the likes of Bobby Jaworski, Mon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben started huffing and puffing, a fresh group of stars were lining up at the officials’ table, ready to take up the cudgels for the stars. Alvin Patrimonio, Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, Hec Calma, Benjie Paras, Jojo Lastimosa. These were just some of the names that would enthrall the new basketball fandom. Oh yes, as new players paraded in the hardcourt, a new breed of fans would also fill the rafters and crowd the family TV sets.
In 1989, the Philippines reeled from a shock loss to Malaysia in the South East Asian Games.This was the first and only time that the SEA Games gold medal for basketball was not won by the Philippines. And this brought the country to new depths of ignominy insofar as regional basketball was concerned.
Luckily for the Philippines, also in 1989, FIBA would start allowing professionals to play in international tourneys. Thus the first all-pro national team was formed in 1990 for the Asian Games. Coached by the venerable Bobby Jaworski, this all-star team would include Allan ‘The Triggerman’ Caidic, Samboy ‘The Skywalker’ Lim, Alvin ‘The Captain’ Patrimonio, Mon ‘El Presidente’ Fernandez, Hector ‘The Director’ Calma and the newest sensation in the PBA, Benjie ‘Tower of Power’ Paras. Paras had just taken the 1989 PBA season by storm with a MVP Award on top of a Rookie of the Year award…
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