Patrimonio-Codiñera and other memorable PBA frontcourt tandems
Throughout the history of the PBA, the league has seen many frontcourt tandems that not only won championships but also etched themselves as legends. The idea of having twin towers clogging the lanes, dominating the boards, and terrorizing smaller defenders has always been a priority for teams.
Here are some of the legendary frontcourt duos in PBA history.
Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codiñera
The Captain and The Defense Minister. Perhaps the most popular big man tandem of all time, Alvin and Jerry hit the ground running as youngsters who took the league by storm under the Purefoods franchise. The two won five championships together in the 1990s. While Patrimonio won four Most Valuable Player awards, Codiñera carved his own niche and became one of the best big man defenders in the league’s history as he was a member of the All-Defensive Team nine times.
Off the court the two also appeared together in television shows and even movies, further adding to their clout as a tandem. However, this partnership came to an abrupt end in 1999 when Codiñera was traded to Mobiline for Andy Seigle as Purefoods hoped to get a taller and younger big man in an attempt to match up with the rest of the league, but it never really panned out the way the franchise wanted it to.
Noli Locsin and Marlou Aquino
The Tank and The Skyscraper. Noli Locsin and Marlou Aquino were two first overall selections by the Ginebra franchise in 1994 and 1996, respectively. Their partnership led to the squad winning the 1997 Commissioner’s Cup title.
Locsin was an undersized power forward at only 6-foot-3, but he never allowed his lack of height to bog him down. Instead he used his physicality, which led to his apt monicker, and, for a guy with his size, he moved very well and also had explosive athleticism. The two parted ways when Locsin was traded to Pop Cola for Vergel Meneses. Aquino’s stint did not last long after as he was soon traded to the Sta. Lucia Realtors ending what was an enjoyable run for Ginebra.
Danny Seigle and Danny Ildefonso
Dynamite and Demolition. The two Dannys of San Miguel Beer won everything there is to win in the PBA. The PBA’s winningest franchise struck gold in back-to-back years as they selected Ildefonso as the first overall pick of the 1998 PBA Rookie Draft. The Beermen then picked Danny Seigle as a direct-hire in 1999 and it became the start of a long and fruitful partnership together. Both each won Rookie of the Year awards, and Ildefonso won two PBA MVPs after.
They dominated from 1999-2001 as they emerged as champions in five of the nine conferences during that span. Ildefonso and Seigle won two more championships in the 2005 and 2009 Fiesta Conferences. Seigle was then traded to Air21, effectively ending an era for SMB.
Dennis Espino and Jun Limpot
The Menace and The Main Man. In terms of sheer talent from the frontcourt, it does not get a lot better than the Sta. Lucia Realtors. The two were tough big men who did not shy away from contact, but also played with finesse when necessary.
The first overall pick of the 1993 PBA Rookie Draft, Limpot was the cornerstone of the Sta. Lucia franchise from the get-go as he won the Rookie of the Year award while also being selected as a member of the Second Mythical Team and the All-Defensive Team.
Espino joined Limpot two years later as he was the first overall pick of the 1995 PBA Rookie Draft.
Unfortunately, the two were not able to win a championship together, which could have cemented their legacy. Limpot was traded to Ginebra in 2000 after seven years with the franchise for Marlou Aquino. He would not win a PBA championship until the tail end of his career, picking up the Philippine Cup trophy with Purefoods in 2006.
Espino, on the other end, stayed with the Realtors until 2009, winning the 2001 Governors’ Cup and the 2007 Philippine Cup.
Eric Menk and Rudy Hatfield
Major Pain and the H-Bomb. These two bigs played alongside each other on two different occasions — the first with Tanduay and the second with Ginebra. It was with the Gin Kings where they got more success as it led to winning the 2007 Philippine Cup.
In terms of success or even playing years, these two did not play alongside each other as much as the other entries on the list, but their chemistry was undeniable. It’s really too bad that Ginebra fans were not able to enjoy this partnership for a longer period of time.
June Mar Fajardo and Arwind Santos
The Kraken and The Spiderman. If it’s the sheer volume of championships, then Fajardo and Santos would be in the discussion for the best big man tandem ever. The SMB horns to high-low featuring these two is one of the most unstoppable plays in the PBA. Fajardo and Santos have helped the Beermen win eight championships and counting. They’ve also won the last seven PBA MVPs are they’re not yet done.
Fajardo’s dominance in the shaded area and Santos’ defensive skills and offensive arsenal have kept coaches in the league scratching their heads as they try to look for the antidote.
Abet Guidaben and Philip Cezar
The only tandem to have more titles than Fajardo and Santos. Both Guidaben and Cezar played more than a decade for Crispa and it was a gold rush when they were there featuring two Grand Slams in 1976 and 1983.
Guidaben was a two-time PBA MVP in 1983 and 1987, but posted his best numbers in 1984 when he averaged 21.0 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. Playing two decades in the PBA, he made 53% of all his shots.
Cezar also won the PBA MVP award 1980 but he was really best knows as the Tapal King for his tenacity on defense.
oth are members of the 25 Greatest Players in PBA history and they both left an indelible mark in Philippine basketball.
Ramon Fernandez and Abe King
If Crispa has an entry, then Toyota needs to have one too. Fernandez is the most skilled big man the league has ever seen. El Presidente won four PBA MVPs and 19 PBA championships. During his best statistical year, he averaged 27.8 points, 11.2 rebounds, 9.9 assists, and 2.1 blocks per contest and he had 64 games played that season. He normed 53% from the field and converted on 81% of his free throws. It’s safe to say that those numbers will never be produced again in the league.
When he was playing for Toyota from 1973 to 1984, he spent some time alongside King, whose best years came after playing outside the shadows for Fernandez and Robert Jaworksi as he picked up 13 championships in his illustrious PBA career.— Courtesy of Carlo Pamintuan / tv5.espn.com