Top Ten: Ginebra players of the last 15 years

 

Even after the resignation of Robert Jaworski as head coach, the crowd favourites continued to delight its fans up to this day – therefore concluding that the team’s mystique isn’t solely based on one man.

But for the last fifteen years, there have been a bunch of individuals that further endeared the Barangay Ginebra Kings to the masses. Former MVPs like Vergel Meneses, Johnny Abarrientos, and Willie Miller have seen action for the squad as well as erstwhile game changers like Jun Limpot, Cyrus Baguio, Enrico Villanueva, Mike Cortez, and Rudy Hatfield.

But hey, if you think about it – Hatfield should have made this list. The H-Bomb had leave of absence after leave of absence and his inconsistent stints could have been the reason why most of their starters (Menk, Caguioa, and Helterbrand) overexerted their selves to eventual extended bouts of injury and caused the Kings to undergo eight years of title drought.

So who made the top ten of this list? First up, I ditched the all-star appearances because the team never really benefited from the event. Sure, one would argue that it made the team more popular… but their name itself is a much better marketing tool.

Anyway, here are ten best Ginebra players of the last 15 years.

 

Honorable Mention – Rodney Santos

Championships 4

Using Sta. Lucia as conduit, Ginebra acquired The Slasher and Andy Seigle from Purefoods in exchange of Jun Limpot and Rob Johnson. Now we know Santos’ shtick as the chief combo guard off the bench for Alaska but with Siot Tanquingcen at helm, Santos’ ability to finish fast breaks was exploited to the hilt. His long bombs are awesome as well – like his celebrations whenever he unleashes game-winning bombs.

 

Number Ten – Sunday Salvacion

Championships 4
Runner Ups 1

If you’re a Ginebra fan during the mid-2000s, then you probably like The Sunday Special. It’s a shame that the former St. Benilde mega scorer is a shell of his former offensive self but when he gets a chance to explode, he’s a pain to stop. In fact, the one-time all-star had one season where he averaged in double digits. He helped the Kings win four titles in seven seasons.

 

Number Nine – Billy Mamaril

Championships 2
Runner Ups 3
All-Defensive Team 1

Billy Mamaril first joined the squad as part of that imba swap between the Kings and the Coca-Cola Tigers. Mamaril never averaged more than six points per game for the Kings but his gameplay was designed to dominate the paint. If you think about it though, it feels as if Ginebra’s run and gun offense held his star back.

 

Number Eight – Romel Adducul

Championships 2
Mythical Second Team 1

The PBA version of Romel Adducul is a shell of his once-dominant persona. With the offense distributed to The Fast and The Furious, Jun Limpot, Eric Menk, and even Rodney Santos, he was relegated to chief rebounder. This is not a bad move if you think about it – as he did play his best years with the Kings. Not only did he win two titles, but Adducul got to make the All-PBA Second Team.

 

Number Seven – Ronald Tubid

Championships 2
Runner Ups 2
Finals MVP 1
All-Defensive Team 1

If you can’t beat them – join them. This is most true in Ronald Tubid’s case. The snarky gunner took his talents to the Gins for a couple of draft picks that never amounted to anything for the Air21 Express. Anyway, the Fast, Furious, and Fearless troika banded to instil chaos on their foes leading to two titles and there’s one time when he shared Finals MVP honors with Eric Menk.

 

Number Six – Japeth Aguilar

Championships 1
Runner Ups 1
Mythical Second Team 1
All-Defensive Team 1

So if there’s one guy who benefited with the entry of Tim Cone to the Ginebra squad, it’s Japeth Aguilar. No argument – he played his best years as a pro under the tutelage of this two-time grand slam mentor. A second generation Ginebra big man, the former Santa Cruz Warriors draft pick got a Mythical Second Team citation in the 2016 Leo Awards and could be in store for more accolades this season.

 

Number Five – Greg Slaughter

Championships 1
Runner Ups 1
Mythical First Team 1
Mythical Second Team 1
Rookie of the Year 1

From the days of Marlou Aquino to the time of Eric Menk, Ginebra flourishes when they have a dominant center to unleash hell on the inside. That’s exactly what Gregzilla is since he got drafted by the Kings in 2013. In a short span of time, he managed to get award after award and it could have been more had not for an injury.

 

Number Four – LA Tenorio

Championships 1
Runner Ups 2
Mythical First Team 1
Mythical Second Team 1
Best Player of the Conference 1
Finals MVP 1

Ginebra lucked out when LA Tenorio spoke against the Alaska Aces prompting the team to trade the Atenean to the Kings. With an aging Jayjay Helterbrand en route to limited action, The Gin-eral proved to be the catalyst of the current Ginebra gameplay. The current PBA Iron Man has won individual and team successes during his time with the squad with possibly a MVP award or a grand slam to serve as the proverbial cherry on top.

 

Number Three – Jayjay Helterbrand

Championships 5
Runner Ups 4
Most Valuable Player 1
Mythical First Team 1
Best Player of the Conference 2
Finals MVP 1

Jayjay Helterbrand’s PBA career almost became short-lived when he went back to the US after a contract dispute. But after nearly a year of contemplation, Helterbrand returned to become what he is now. Helterskelter formed a career-long partnership with Mark Caguioa and at one point became the face of the franchise when he won the Most Valuable Player trophy in 2009.

 

Number Two – Eric Menk

Championships 4
Runner Ups 2
Most Valuable Player 1
Mythical First Team 1
Best Player of the Conference 2
Finals MVP 3

The end of his tenure with the squad is almost as insane as his start. When Bong Tan traded his best men en route to disbandment in 2001, the former Danish import went from Rhum Master to Gin King for Elmer Lago and a draft pick. As part of the Never Say Die squad, he scored four championships – three of those he was named as Finals MVP. He would also score two BPCs and a MVP award in 2005.

 

Number One – Mark Caguioa

Championships 5
Runner Ups 4
Most Valuable Player 1
Mythical First Team 3
Mythical Second Team 2
Best Player of the Conference 3
Rookie of the Year 1

The number one player on this list is as predictable as breathing. Mark Caguioa is the best Ginebra player because of his contributions this century. As a virtual unknown, The Spark shocked all when he won the Rookie of the Year award. He would win awards and accolades and none too brighter than his MVP win in 2012. The Ginebra roster has changed as frequently as his hairstyle but he still carry the same Never Say Die vibe we are accustomed. And while a lot of fans are thinking that he could still play extended minutes as part of another squad, it will be hard for them to see Mark “The Spark” in colors other than red and white.

So did you like the list?

Did I miss anything out?

Sound off your comments below.

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