Worse PBA Team Monikers (2000 – onwards)

Disclaimer: This is my list. If you want to hate this list, do so… in secrecy. Or maybe you can… if you can give a detailed opinion.

How it started: Anyway, the year was 2000 when the PBA tried to sell their merchandize to the public. The PBA had its commercial mode on during those days. I mean, they had basketball cards, balls, apparel… the works! But how can they sell cool stuffs when the names of the squads were too lame? People would fear wearing their brand and worse… tune out of the league altogether.

This was why the PBA talked to the owners to have logos and classy names so they could compete with the NBA. Laugh all you want but now the PBA is a successful niche brand. It’s not wrong to go outside and wear a Mark Caguioa or a James Yap jersey. Even the t-shirts won’t a person’s hunger to act cool. Hell, if the apparel makers are smart, they could pull some strings and obtain permission to make the old-school jerseys.

Though I just watch basketball and never really played it, I will wear an Atoy Co or Philip Cezar jersey if I get my hands on them.

Anyway, during that time San Miguel and Purefoods stuck with Beermen and Hotdogs respectively and I don’t blame them because this was how people remembered them. Ginebra and Shell had a lot of names in the past but managed to settle with Kings and Turbo Chargers. Sta. Lucia, named Realtors had a crappy name. But you what? For them it has tradition – from their PBL days to the PBA days, they loved the name and it seems that it will stick until Buddy Encarnado retires. I like the Alaska Milkmen tag but with the memory of their 1996 Grand Slam Feat gone, they became the Aces.

There are a lot of great names that stuck on our heads because they sound cool, is catchy, and has tradition.

Unfortunately, some suck.

Game starts now.

10 RED BULL THUNDER – For marketing purposes, Red Bull had to have a nickname so the “Energizers” (lame name) used the name Thunder (this was years ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder). The name is good. I kinda loved it. However there is a catch. Sportswriters were referring to them as “Bulls”. Also, there was a time the team was called Red Bull Barako Thunder or Batang Red Bull Barako Thunder. The fact is, no one really seemed to care about why they are called “Thunder”. I was a fan of the name but I guess it just didn’t work.

9 POP COLA PANTHERS – Speaking of names that didn’t work, the “Panthers” name could have been big. Unfortunately, this was the time when Pop Cola was the odd team out. Years past the monstrous group that juggles the names Sunkist Orange Juicers and Swift Mighty Meaties to their title run, this batch had little to show. At least Red Bull was winning. They were barely recognizable. Sure they had Rudy Hatfield and Ato Morano before their transition as the Coca-Cola Tigers but it pains me to say that I can’t remember what they had on their roster. The Panthers could be a cool name if I remembered the faces that suited up.

8 PUREFOODS CHUNKEE GIANTS – Call it Chunkee. Call it Tender Juicy. I basically call this gay. You see, even though the moniker Hotdogs is downright non-manly, that name stuck a cord with millions of Purefoods from the days of Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, Jojo Lastimosa, Glen Capacio, and Dindo Pumaren. The name is legendary just like the Beermen, Gin Kings, and Milkmen. The name changed when Alvin Patrimonio retired and simply stating this to give light to the James Yap-Kerby Raymundo era sucks. Also, among other things, why Giants? Sure Kings, Aces, and Tigers are a slew of overused monikers but Giants was sudden and baseless. At least their current name Derby Ace Llamados is realistic because Llamado is a cockfighting term. I will always remember the Purefoods TJ Hotdogs over the Purefoods Chunkee Giants ANYTIME!

7 TALK N TEXT PHONE PALS – I love the volt-like character in their logo. When the team was called Mobiline Phone Pals, they had that look that I loved. When they changed this to TNT, I never saw anything wrong at first… until I asked myself how expensive it is to have an actual cellphone Phone Pal. Tropang Texters, amidst the fact that it sounds lame, suits the current scene in terms of communication. The name change arrived late but at least it arrived at some point. I hope they bring back the volt character in their logo (although their current logo suits them). If that won’t work, at least change their uniform because their current jerseys look like the ones virtual NBA players use on the pick-up game mode of NBA: The Inside 10.

6 BURGER KING TITANS – With Harbour Centre’s chief Mikee Romero getting first dibs of PBA team semi-ownership, Burger King had a Spartan-like mascot in their logo and they were dubbed the Titans. Fact is, it could have worked… if BK isn’t a popular name. Burger King’s climb from a struggling product to the country’s fastfood version of Starbucks was so fast that everyone expected the Whopper to be their name and not… the Titans. Luckily in a bizarre twist of fate, Romero had to give up the Titans and the Lina Group gave the Whopper name a go.

5 BARAKO BULL ENERGY BOOSTERS – I can’t blame the broadsheet sports writers for calling the squad as “Bulls”. I remember a Major League Soccer squad called the New York Red Bulls. Their brand name is so cool that they could exist without a moniker (or perhaps have “Batang” in front of their names and call themselves Batang Barako Bull). This is not a hideous name (see 4 to 1) but I just think this is not a PBA name but a PBL name. Examples of PBL team names are Licealiz Hair Doctors (leave of absence), Agri Nurture-FCA Cultivators, and Pharex-B Complex Ngalay Fighters. These teams can call themselves with hideous names but a PBA team should never experience this crap.

4 RAIN OR SHINE ELASTO PAINTERS – I would have sent this name at last place if not for their amazing transformation when they called themselves as ugh… Elasto Painters. Seriously, what in the blue hell is a “Elasto Painter”? Add that to their uniform that looks like a design for beach shorts (their light uniforms isn’t TV friendly because it’s hard to see their numbers), it sucks all over. Perhaps my biggest beef here is they came from a great name. Welcoat Dragons had a good name and logo! But hey, I guess I can’t blame them for the change especially since they changed their look, their win-loss record changed for the better as well.

3 TANDUAY RHUM MASTERS – The root of all evil. In fairness to Bong Tan’s group, they just inherited the name from Manuel Elizalde’s group (Tanduay’s first PBA incarnation). The problem I have with this name was in 2000, when the PBA started to make their team’s logos look marketable, Tanduay continued to have a bland and basic logo. It’s like they saw no effort in improving their look. Sure, they had the colors but this was a time when their two Fil-Ams (Eric Menk and Sonny Alvarado) were in deep shit and a couple of years later, a series of top guy-for-sucky guy trades would be their final sound-off in the league.

2 MAGNOLIA BEVERAGE MASTERS – When the SMC franchise tried to rest the Beermen colors for a Magnolia one, little people knew they would change its moniker for a random generic name. The PBL Magnolia team had Wizards and Spinners… which are better names than MASTERS! I cannot believe that even with all those awesome advertising think-tanks that continuously create unforgettable commercials could only come up with this. THIS!?! Luckily, the Masters name was short-lived as the Beermen reclaimed their spot a conference later.

1 BARAKO BULL COFFEE MASTERS – What is so scary about a couple of muscle-clad behemoths… with an expertise to serve coffee? I don’t get this. They have a sucky team right now and the best thing they could do is intimidate other teams with their look. Who in the blue hell will fall flat on the floor after reading “Coffee Masters” other than a person laughing at it? Makes you wonder that it’s certain Barako Bull’s PBA tenure is slowly fading out.

What kicks me to the curve is that the word “Masters” is so overused. It seems like the big boss of the company thought of it and the Yes Men surrounding him could only snicker in disgust! In this decade alone, two teams have used the word. Great Taste’s moniker was Coffee Makers which sucks ass but at least they had an extremely powerful roster in lieu of their six championship crowns. Barako Bull is… well… an interim product waiting to be renamed Harbour Centre by Mikee Romero.

So this ends the list.

Game Over.


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