Sydman's Top 35: The Baranggay Ginebra Kings (Updated version)

This is an updated rehash of what I wrote three years ago.

You can see the original version when you click this PAGE!

Anyway, I will try to insert those names that weren’t available in the original version.

Since 1979, the Baranggay Ginebra Kings is undoubtedly the premiere crowd drawer of the league. Superstars like Allan Caidic, Paul Alvarez, Johnny Abarrientos, and Freddie Hubalde suited for the squad at one point of their careers. Powerhouse Benjie Paras tried desperately to opt out of his Shell contract in the mid 90’s when the Gins called for his services.

For budding superstars, if you want to become a great star and have a huge fan following, then Ginebra is your best option… then. At this point, the who’s who of Philippine basketball wants to play for the crowd darlings. Junthy Valenzuela and Homer Se, a couple of Ginebra’s most hated foes, aligned with the squad years ago just like what Pongkie Alolor, Terry Saldana, Yves Dignadice, and Enrico Villanueva.

Gilbey’s Gin started in the PBA with Willie Tanduyan and Willie Generalao leading the charge. As the Toyota franchise disbanded in 1984, most of its players were “sold” to the Beerhausen franchise. Ramon Fernandez was one of the players included in the transfer. However, Robert Jaworski resisted and stated that they were not for sale and they were not “pieces of meat”. This also further exposed the rift involving Jawo and The Franchise. Then the team’s fate dramatically changed. When Ginebra came to the picture, “Jawo”, Arnie Tuadles, and Francis Arnaiz joined the Kings. They also brought the then-Toyota fans to the once talent-plagued squad to further strengthen this budding basketball institution.

Ginebra produced, developed, and created a slew of stars that the fans cheered throughout their Ginebra tenure. Here are the players that best described the celebrated franchise.
Special mention from this list were the other players in the 80’s like Cayetano Salazar, Ed Ducut, and Mukesh Advani, 90’s players like Elmer Lago, Mike Orquillas, Macky de Joya, and Dodot Jaworski, and other players like Joey Marquez, Dennis Roldan, Terry Saldana, Willie Generalao, Pongkie Alolor, Bennett Palad, and Ronald Magtulis.

MY TOP 35 (Criteria: Popularity, Stats, and Tenure as a GIN)

35) Andy “Eagle” Seigle #52
One would wonder, why is Seigle here. Sure his Ginebra stint was weak since injuries have already taken its toll on his body. However, one time I was in White Plains where the Kings are practicing and I saw him pinning then-rookie Kim Valenzuela to the wall and he was dragging Kim from left to right… in a wedgie position. Kim was mercifully saying “Please don’t… please don’t” and Seigle was just smiling. That is so cool!

34) Wilmer “Coach gumagalaw... saktan natin” Ong #18Long before Junthy Valenzuela, Ong was the most recognized hitman during the 90’s. Whenever Jawo wants a person taken out, Ong will viciously bump and ravage his opponent until he gets pissed with Ong and challenges him to a brawl. He had a long tenure as a King.

33) Benny “Penny Cheng” Cheng #16
The former NCAA MVP found his way to the Gins via trade for Manny Victorino. He was the team’s starting forward, providing the hustle and the scrappy plays. In this team he was also able to change his game from a post-up scorer to a long-range bomber.

32) Willie “The Little General” Generalao #42
This pint-sized quarterback was part of the young core of Gilbey’s, winning Top Rookie honors in 1980. The former University of Visayas’ guard was capable on dishing out the passes as well as performing launch baskets. Obviously his stint with the team was short-lived since he has moved out when Jawo came to the picture.

31) Willie “Played years before this writer was born” Tanduyan
Little is known about this player but the former Crispa stalwart was one of Gilbey’s Gin’s first superstars. He was one of the franchise’s pioneers when it debuted in 1979. I saw in an online research that he drives ambulances for a living.

30) “The Slasher” Rodney Santos #9
Another former NCAA MVP, the Slasher found himself as a Gin when he was traded alongside Andy Seigle for Jun Limpot. He quickly became part of Kings’ insanely quick backcourt rotation, which was a key element as to why the Kings are happy in using three small men as scoring options.

29) Sonny “Takbong Mayaman” Cabatu #5This was his first and only stint as a top guy. Playing for a team that desperately needed wins, he was their main man in the paint. This stint was enough to tell the critics why he was the first-ever pick overall in PBA draft history. He had a double-digit points average while playing as a Gin. Junjun, his kid, became also a player for the Kings.

28) Rafi "Rapping" Reavis#4
When the Kings adopted the approach where their small guys would be the main offensive thrusts of the team, they need a gigantic totem pole to block shots and make people second guess on penetrating. Part of the deal that landed Rudy Hatfield and Billy Mamaril from Coca-Cola, he was a key ingredient in racking up the wins for the Kings. Reavis played for Philip Cezar when the San Juan Knights won a MBA title.

27) Sunday “Sunday Special” Salvacion #80Another former NCAA MVP, Sweet Glorious Sunday transformed from a collegiate offensive powerhouse to a multi-dimensioned player. His clutch triple bombs have been one of his strong suits. He also inherited Pido Jarencio’s luck but instead of having a good game at Araneta, he was spectacular during Sundays. Too bad that he had to leave the team for Barako because it is overloaded with talent.

26) Manny “Cynthia Patag’s husband in Palibhasa Lalake” Victorino #1One of the finest centers of the PBA during the 80’s, Victorino was taken from Pepsi in exchange for draft pick Victor Pablo. His arrival to the squad made him popular, and the icing of the cake was his recurring role as Cynthia Patag’s husband in Palibhasa Lalake. He played in the team during their championship-less years. After having stints with Great Taste, the steady performer ended his PBA career at Purefoods.

25) Vergel “The Aerial Voyager” Meneses #2This 1-time MVP was so sought after by the Gins that they had to give up popular Gin King Noli Locsin. During his heyday, he was the league’s premier forward and his talent overshadowed young stars of the same position like Kenneth Duremdes and Brixter Encarnacion. But when a rookie named Mark Caguioa started his climb to the top, disemboweling his minutes… especially during fourth quarters, he headed to FedEx afterwards. His brief Ginebra stint was the beginning of the end of the Aerial Voyager’s superstar status (he was still the top player of FedEx but with Renren Ritualo growing, he became expendable and was traded to Red Bull).

24) Rudy "The H-Bomb" Hatfield #99Rudy Hatfield was happy to join Eric Menk in the Kings camp. Before this, Hatfield was happy to be cleared from his citizenship woes. The former Laguna Laker who came to the PBA via Tanduay wanted to prove that he is something that the Kings need. Indeed he was, owning seriously heavy rebounding numbers to mix with his points. And then he AWOL-ed so he can fulfill his lifelong dream of being a wrestler… that turned into a fireman… and all of a sudden he married a girl based in States… only to return to “reclaim” his spot with the team. Yes he is volatile and often disruptive, but this former Rufa Mae Quinto BF has the tool to become seriously productive.

23) Joey “The Loyzaga that had no headband” Loyzaga #14
He was efficient as a shooter but this wide-bodied talent was also an able defender. He was also part of the Ginebra Bad Boys that shackled every offensive threat that barges in their way. He was also known as a former beau of screen goddess Gretchen Barretto. While he wasn’t as handy as his brother, he proved to be a key contributor off the bench. He would later join Shell and then Alaska where he won a couple of titles.

22) Rey “Inside/Outside Operator” Cuenco #18The former first pick overall in the 1986 Draft found was sent to Ginebra by Shell for Romy dela Rosa. He was an exciting scorer but injury-plagued throughout his career. He was best remembered as the person who ignited the Ginebra walkout (called Anejo then, they protested a foul against Cuenco which led to the stiff 550,000 fine they got from their actions). He last played for Pepsi where he eventually joined a league in heaven at age 38.

21) “The Magic Man” Dondon Ampalayo #6
Called the Magic Man, the former Rookie of the Year could play inside and outside. However, his Ginebra stint was short-lived as the management feared of his effectiveness being injury prone and all. This is one reason why I can’t raise him with his Ginebra batchmates. Sure he was popular and had the skill set of Jojo Lastimosa (although larger), but he was injury prone that the only good season he had was when he played his rookie season with the Gins. He was sent to Alaska in a forgettable trade, with the Kings getting ‘supposedly” good Stevenson Solomon.

20) Jun “The Main Man” Limpot #9In a blockbuster deal, Limpot was picked up by Ginebra for Marlou Aquino. The Big Deal found a renewed passion that quickly gained them a finals seat against San Miguel (during Mark Caguioa’s rookie year). However, his Ginebra stint was marred with criticisms saying that he has no heart in giving his team titles. This is one reason why many objected on how high I placed him in the original version. It seems as if the Gin crowd is helpless in making the Big Deal muscle his way to the basket. He was traded to Purefoods, where he got his first championship despite playing limited minutes and people barely cared if trading Limpot for Andy Seigle was lopsided.

19) Ronald "Fearless" Tubid # 71He wasn’t in the original version because he hasn’t played in the Kings during that time. However in such a short period, he was able to mesh the three greatest chapters of the Ginebra story. Like the 90’s Kings, he has that crowd-pleasing never say die attitude. Like the current Kings, he has the capabilities to execute run and gun plays perfectly. And like the 80’s Kings, he has “evil” inside of him. Funny how a guy who years before was the Kings’ biggest anti-hero adopted so well that he became the epitome of how a Ginebra player is all about.

18) “The General” Romel Adducul #10
He was perceived as the biggest star that has never reached the PBA. That was why the fans were on high hopes when Adducul was taken by the Kings in the draft. However, despite him being an inside threat, his ability to score was non-existent. Nonetheless during his tenure, the fans believed that “The General” was their key guy in the post. Adducul proved vital in their string of titles and he was a key contributor inside the shaded area. Unlike Limpot, he used his muscle to bang with other big men.

17) “Tapal King” Philip Cezar #18The Scholar played his final years as a pro with the Gins. The Tapal King was still controlling the boards like a youngster though. Aligning himself with the Big J was a tough act – since they’ve possibly swung fists at each other during the Crispa-Toyota Era. However, this unlikely bond prospered after his playing career as he became Big J’s chief assistant during their 1997 title run. The former San Juan Mayor used his smarts to deliver a championship with the San Juan Knights where former Gins Rudy Distrito and Macky De Joya were his players.

16) Leo “I smell my armpits as I take my free throw” Isaac #9
If Jawo was Magic Johnson then Isaac was their version of Byron Scott. At that time, he was big for his position that on a regular basis, he creates mismatches. He was not much of a speedster but he does what it takes to claim wins. Oftentimes he was the fourth scoring option but he’ll gladly sacrifice his points so that he can contain his enemies. He was part of their championship in ’86 and for a couple of seasons, was the chief PG of the squad. He retired playing for Shell and had coaching stints with Red Bull, the PBL, and the NCAA.

15) Romulo “Old Mama” Mamaril #22Current King Billy should learn a thing or two from his father. Despite his reed-thin frame combining with his 6’6 body, “Mama” was fearless. His unwavering defense, whether against locals or imports, proved vital for his lengthy stay in the majors. While Billy had technology to talk for his skills, Old Mama relied on his gut. While at 6’6 he was a giant, his frame so thin that he could be pushed around. However… he can’t because he is knowledgeable enough to rid himself of those pesky defenders! He also never backed down from a fight which was part of the attitude of the 80’s Ginebra gang. He finished his career alongside Isaac, with their former rival, Shell.

14) “The Destroyer” Rudy Distrito #17The legend of the Destroyer came into full throttle with his entry to the Ginebra franchise. Distrito fit with Jaworski’s system where physical play was never outdated and always mandatory. He was a streaky scorer, capitalizing on his unorthodox moves to confuse his opponents. He once shot a booming jumper to clinch the title for the Gins after being down 0-3 in the first three games of their title series against Shell. The end of his PBA career was sad (while it’s his fault for launching Jeff Cariaso to a reverse swan dive), he finished his career on a high note by sending the San Juan Knights to a championship. Let’s forget about his “post-PBA” career.

13) “Mr. Adrenalin” Jayvee Gayoso #11He started out as an upstart during Ginebra’s Dark Ages. He eventually became the thrust of Ginebra’s offense with Cabatu and Jarencio, before the young reinforcements arrived. Mr. Adrenalin, as he was called, did stood his ground to maintain his status in the team by drilling timely triples that would send the Ginebra population at its feet. During his stint with the Gins, he was also a leading man in movies produced by Regal Films. How cool is that!!!

12) “The Fireman” Pido Jarencio #25The former Santo Tomas rifleman went to the Gins via Pop Cola during the team’s Dark Ages. Before joining the Kings, fans wondered if they will the man that once went head-to-head with Allan Caidic for the UAAP scoring title. In Ginebra he returned to his super-scoring ways (he was Gary David then). He did soften a bit with the arrival of the new blood but the Fireman became a stellar find that would forever mark the history of the franchise… especially when games were held at the Araneta Coliseum.

11) Vince “The Prince” Hizon #12The former eighth pick of the 1994 draft came to the Gins via a trade which sent Nonoy Chuatico to Purefoods. The Prince blossomed into a perimeter threat, his bulk gifted with finesse and quickness, launched the Gins during the late 90’s. Hiz-on Fire was also a girl-pleaser, a rarity back then for Ginebra where they paraded hoodlum/stuntmen-looking personnel. He also the first PBA player to kneel down and ask that person to marry him during a halftime report (ask Patricia Hizon for details).

10) Dante “Bicol Express” Gonzalgo #12
While he wasn’t quick, he was the Gins third main man behind Jawo and Chito. The Bicol Express proved to be the unsung hero of the team at times when they needed a serious boost to jumpstart their winning ways. Combining hardcourt savvy with an attitude rocked by the Jawo style of play, Gonzalgo stood his ground as one of the finest players the Ginebra fanbase has ever cheered upon.

9) Francis “Mr. Clutch” Arnaiz #8Mr. Clutch played like Vince Hizon. Apart from their good looks, both were outside threats with tendencies to plummet penetrations given the opportunity. For three years, Jaworski’s best friend played back-up for the Living Legend to give the league its biggest backcourt punch in its early years. He left the country in 1986 and has since lived outside the Philippines.

8) Noli “The Tank” Locsin #6
Short for his position, he withstood his lack of height for quickness mixed with power. As a Jaworski go-to-guy, he controlled the paint, mauled competition, and strengthened the cause of the Gins’ quest for gold. This was perhaps his strength and also his weakness, as he failed to regain his dominance after he was traded out of the Gins. Just like Marlou and the rest of the Gordon Gins Boars, he played his best years in the league under the tutelage of the Robert Jaworski.

7) “The Skyscraper” Marlou Aquino #13
Coined once as Ginebra’s savior, when motivated he could demolish every competition laid in front of him. The Gins of the 90’s relied heavily on the Skyscraper in bringing the team to the top. Well, he did give the Gins something to cheer about. As the Gordon’s Gin Boars, they performed a dazzling display of tricks that would eventually land them a championship. He became disgruntled though with Jaworski’s ouster and was traded to Sta. Lucia for Jun Limpot. Looking back, Marlou was at his best when he was under the Big J’s tutelage. Rino Salazar couldn’t just work him properly.

6) “The Flash” Bal David #1
His amazing play with PBL Grand Slam team Stag made him a talent to scour for the La Tondena franchise. He started out just a person to compliment Marlou, he then sprinted to stardom with his innate ability to make clutch baskets. His half court buzzer beater against SMB is one of the 10 best plays of the league and his other buzzer beater made Asi Taulava cry. Just like Jaworski, he left the court not really saying he retired (he just went out of the spotlight but never finalized retiring). I last saw him play when GMA Pinoy TV went on a basketball caravan in the Middle East alongside Benjie Paras, Pekto, Antonio Aquitania, Jayvee Gayoso, Jay Mendoza, Zaldy Realubit, and Noli Locsin.

5) “Dynamite” Chito Loyzaga #41
He was the original Dynamite. Son of acclaimed Hall of Famer Caloy and brother to sweet-shooting teammate Joey, he was Jaworski’s key enforcer during the 80’s. Displaying an outside touch rare for big men then, Loyzaga has the ability to play all 5 positions in effective fashion when the situation arises. Call him the Philippines’ not-so-stellar version of Magic Johnson. He was not a real offensive threat but he displayed great defensive awareness that helped his team to rise against competition.

4) Eric “Major Pain” Menk #30
With the exodus of Tanduay, Ginebra received the player known to us as Major Pain. The dominant center has been plagued with citizenship issues which was the trend for Fil-Ams during those times. After getting cleared and getting picked by the Gins, the crowd favorites had to wait a year for his services because of his RP Team loan. Regardless, when he entered the team, the team finally had a dominant scoring big man. The reason why he is ranked this high despite being injury-plagued in the later stages of his career? The 2004-05 season was his most dominant season in the league as he was the first Ginebra player since its debut in 1979 to win a MVP award.

3) Jayjay “Helter-skelter” Helterbrand #13
His brief stint with the Batangas Blades was enough for him to land a seat with the most popular ballclub. Blessed with speed, Helter-skelter became the new face of Ginebra’s vaulted run and gun backcourt. He took time off because of contract dispute but returned in due time to rival Jimmy Alapag as the league’s best point guard. Alongside Caguioa, they are collectively known as the Fast and the Furious and the Bandanna Brothers. When Caguioa was injured, Jayjay stepped up big and played like a madman with his vicious scoring, accurate passes, and impressive playmaking. His efforts gave Helterbrand his first MVP trophy.

2) “The Spark” Mark Caguioa #47
A virtual unknown when he applied in the 2001 Draft, many were puzzled how this blond-haired baller could even make an impact. Years later, he is regarded as Ginebra’s premiere poster boy. He took fans to the edge of their seats with his amazing array of moves inside and outside the paint. The Spark’s flamboyant, charismatic, and cocky nature fits him right in the mold of the Big J. It is safe to say that he is the next Jaworski of Philippine Basketball. The only difference between their games is that Jaworski had an otherwise healthy career unlike The Spark who had a share of DNP’s because of injuries.

1) “The Living Legend” Robert Jaworski #7He was the person responsible for creating this phenomenon. Ginebra was a cellar-dwelling team then and with his arrival, not only did he take his brand of game to the team but his hordes of fans flocked and switched their alliances to inspire every Gin cager. His on-court wizardry… and dastardly ploys are forever in the PBA annals as one of the biggest things that could possibly happen in Philippine sports. He was also a great motivator, still getting the crowd to its feet despite insurmountable odds. The first coach (playing coach) of the team led his group to numerous accomplishments. Because of Jawo, despite leaving the team in ’98, Ginebra is forever regarded as the most popular team in the league.

Former and current players like Enrico Villanueva, Junthy Valenzuela, Cyrus Baguio, Willie Miller, and Mike Cortez are top players… but they are not Ginebra’s best. Perhaps if they add a little more to their tenure to which they play above their potential, then perhaps this list would find a lot of new names two or three years later.

For questions and comments, check out the site.

Until then…



  1. Ronald Tubid ftw!!!

    Here's something you might like about #19

  2. thanks man!

    tubid has grown so much that during last year's Philippine Cup, he was the team's savior.

  3. ** Tubid should be further down the list. He has improved his scoring ability through the years ..... but far too often, his output always is a result of a large amount of shot attempts that will make even Dwayne Wade blush.

    Not a Caguio-fanboy here, but I'd rather let him take the number of attempts that Tubid takes. BGK will likely get a few more wins IMO.

    ** Even with JJ's MVP season, David should have still ranked higher IMO ...... David was very good during an era of many great PG's (Johnny, Pumaren, Racela, Esplana, etc). More importantly, David & then BGK team got the whole nation hooked again with BGK.

    ** Baguo should have been in the list somewhere. He averaged a shade below 10pts for BGK .... with extremely limited & erratic playing time & limited touches.

    It's one thing for an SG to have limited playing time .... erratic playing time is another thing altogether. Guys like Fonacier, Simon, etc know when they'll get in the game (late Q1 to early Q2) ....

    But with Uichico's often baffling patterns (major fault of course belongs to whoever stacked BGK with guards) - playing time for guys like Baguio & Intal becomes both limited and erratic.

    With erratic, you dont know when you're going to get that 10-15 minutes, if at all.

    Baguio deserves more credit than was given him at BGK .... the fact that the guy was as laconic as they come, doesnt help either. The mob likes the flashy ones like the aforementioned Tubid better.

    ** Great monikers ..... especially Ong's .... spot on.

    ** Andy Seigle WTF?? ...... his 1st 2 years with TnT were his only good years. It's all downhill from there. He mostly had that ugly looking jump-hook from the right-side of the box. He also had 2-left feet which also afflicted the earlier Alex Araneta.

  4. @ seigle: i saw him wedgie valenzuela. THAT'S REASON ENOUGH!

    @ david: he was waived by the kings and he wasn't retired. i ranked him third originally but greater things happened when the years gone by.

    @ baguio: tubid i admit was a hit or miss in that position but baguio was used miserably by uichico. i'll place him in the top 5 in red bull, and perhaps in the late 20's at alaska if he adds 2 to 3 years in his tenure but as a gin, i just couldn't.

    i'd rather put elmer lago or alex crisano. hell macky de joya is another possibility.

  5. ** Damm .... seeing someone give someone else a wedgie (or a swirly) should be swell sight. Hehe.

    Reminds of an old friend's story about Aquino & Espino harassing Belano with endless "bunda's" during past SLR practices. It made the two big's laugh, and the small one cry (and his ass hurt as well).

    ** Still would have ranked Tubid lower and included Baguio somehow.

    ** Sacrilege to include Macky, Castelo or Escobar ..... Lago, Macapagal, Crisano yup are nice choices though. Including Dudut would be nothing short of heresy.

    ** Nice that Victorino was included. The man was quite unique during the days .... quite tall yet can run like a gazelle. Plus he wore #1 which was kinda cool for it's time.

  6. hey thanks dude!


    belano was ass-raped by two giants?


    maybe i should hunt down stories regarding rookie bashing! :)

  7. Hmmm, not exactly ass-raped. hehe ..... a "bunda" is where a person forms a gun with his two-index fingers together .... then use this gun as a sword for another man's behind.

    Yup, I believe that Belano was a rookie then at SLR .... not even the fact that he played at the MBA and recorded a quadruple-double stopped the two bigs from having their fun.

    Nice .... a story about rookie trials, tribulations, quirks, etc would make for good reading.

  8. hahahahaha!

    ayun pala ang bunda!

    reading that is so wrong...