Top 10: PBA players who never played (or just once) in the All-Star Main Event

 

So let’s agree to disagree here – the PBA all-star isn’t as prestigious as it should be.

I mean… unlike in the NBA… the formats vary depending on the scenario. There are years when the fourth-best players of their position take a backseat for rookies, sophomores, and juniors. There are times when players are divided based on their birthplace while at times we see the best ballers play against the rest in preparation for an up and coming international event.

I guess this is why there are players who barely average five points per game getting the all-star invite… while there are others who have the stats but for some insane reason, couldn’t claim an all-star appearance.

No wonder the league had to take the festivities to the provinces.

Included on this list are the players that scored either one or zero in all-star participation. I had to take account of players with one all-star appearance to boast because historically, the PBA has either two or three conferences in one season. For me, having one invite for over thirty conferences of gameplay is ultra low in my opinion. Aside from the annual spectacle that was first inaugurated in 1989, I also included the events that happened in 1975, 1977, and 1982.

Finally, I excluded the pioneers from the list.

So here are ten PBA players who barely or never participated in an all-star event.

 

10 – WILLIE GENERALAO

1x Mythical Second Team
1x All-Star (1982 PBA All-Star Series)
Rookie of the Year

Considered by many as one of the greatest pass-first court generals in the PBA, this former Rookie of the Year and one-time Mythical Second Team member was on the verge of retirement when the all-star game became an annual event in 1990. He did score an all-star stint when the league had its first official North versus South all-star series in 1982.

9 – RICKY RELOSA

1x Mythical Second Team
2x All-Defensive Team
Most Improved Player

Ricky Relosa looks like a Mongol warrior with his hair, eyes, and moustache and plays like one as well. His tough man act with Yoyoy Villamin is the predecessor to what we saw with Beau Belga and JR Quinahan. Unfortunately, this Bruise Brother never got to play in an all-star event. With that said, at least Ricky Relosa finished his playing career with a Mythical Second Team citation.

8 – WILLIE PEARSON

1x Mythical First Team
1x Mythical Second Team
Rookie of the Year

Willie Pearson is one of two Mythical First Teamers on this list. Playing for Crispa, Great Taste, and Alaska, Pearson left the country the same year the first annual all-star event happened. As per online accounts, Pearson’s gameplay deteriorated as the years went by. Moreover as per online accounts, he fled to the States in a huff when the BIR chased him for tax evasion.

7 – TERRY SALDANA

2x Mythical Second Team
Most Improved Player

Known as the Plastic Man, his outstretched arms made him a threat on both ends of the court. In fact, he won two Mythical Second Teams in 1984 and 1986 because Terry Saldana is that good. Unfortunately, a devastating injury ruined his career. He was able to return in 1990 but his role was reduced to an import stopper and I guess that’s the reason why he never became an all-star.

6 – FREDDIE ABUDA

2x Defensive Player of the Year
4x All-Defensive Team
3x Sportsmanship Award

Freddie Abuda is never an offensive juggernaut. But if you need a tireless lockdown attack dog that would give his all for the win, then he fits the bill. Now I can’t really say The Scavenger is a marquee name but his underdog shtick made him a crowd favorite. If import stoppers like Cris Bolado, Wilmer Ong, and even Ronald Magtulis all had all-star stints, then why can’t a two-time Defensive Player of the Year?

5 – MARK CLEMENCE TELAN

1x Mythical Second Team
1x All-Star
Most Improved Player

In 2005, Mark Telan would claim his only Mythical Team selection. This was also the year when he had a streak of double digit games. An all-star spot should be in the works after that feat… but no such thing happened. His journeyman shtick might have messed up his career. Fortunately for him, he did had an all-star appearance when he played for Shell in 2000.

4 – BOYBITS VICTORIA

2x Mythical Second Team
1x All-Star
Rookie of the Year

Boybits Victoria had to help the Sunkist Orange Juicers to an almost-grand slam just to score an all-star invite. While yeah, it’s hard to see Victoria taking over the spots of Johnny Abarrientos, Dindo Pumaren, Ronnie Magsanoc, Bal David, and even pre-star Olsen Racela, it also sucks that frequent format changes ruin his all-star appearances. I mean… not to knock on Jason Webb but two of his three all-star stints came as part of the RSJ squad. Let’s just say I am not a fan of this format.

3 – WYNNE ARBOLEDA

1x Mythical Second Team
2x Defensive Player of the Year
4x All-Defensive Team

The Snatcher took down a lot of offensive sets and would end his career as a two-time Defensive Player of the Year winner. However, his crimes on the court couldn’t give him an all-star nod. Yeah, Pareng Wynne’s 2000 to 2016 pro career never went on to all-star heights. More than the all-star snub though, it sucks to note that Wynne Arboleda also retired without a championship.

2 – MIKE CORTEZ

1x Mythical Second Team
1x All-Star

During the 2000s when you think of PG, you think about either Olsen Racela or Johnny Abarrientos at the start… and Jimmy Alapag and Jayjay Helterbrand at its tail end. And this puts Mike Cortez on a spot. The Cool Cat got his first and only all-star stint during his rookie year in 2003. After almost five years with the Alaska Aces, this one-time Mythical Second Team member drifted from team to team and I doubt if he’ll see him getting an invite as part of the GlobalPort Batang Pier. This just sucks because if he didn’t have that journeyman status, he would have had accomplished more.

1 – RICKY BROWN

1x Most Valuable Player
5x Mythical First Team
1x Mythical Second Team
Rookie of the Year

And this one stings the most. The Quick Brown Fox ended his PBA career with averages of 23.1ppg and 7.3apg – both all-time best numbers. Ricardo Brown also won the Most Valuable Player award in 1985 and went on to star in five Mythical First Teams and a bunch of championships. With that said, Brown never became a PBA all-star. Yeah, the cat-quick combo guard that almost played for the Houston Rockets never got to play in an all-star game. This sounds nuts now but Brown also played at a time when the league just started to give out Mythical Second Team citations. Also, he retired when he was just 32.

 

I initially had Pearson, Saldana, Relosa, and Generalao on top of my list but I had to send them back because when their careers were at its peak, the all-star games never existed. As for Brown’s case, I believed he could have made a couple of appearances if he didn’t retire in 1990.

32 is such a young age to retire.

Almost making the list are Biboy Ravanes (one), Rey Cuenco (one), Glenn Capacio (none), Marte Saldana (one), and Yancy de Ocampo (none).

Did I miss anyone out?

Sound off your comments below.

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