Top 20 PBA Greatest Monickers Of All Time
October 30, 2006 by Benjie Cruz
Prologue: Monicker can also be spelled “moniker” (bonus knowledge right there). Only Robert Jaworski’s monickers made the list twice. There are only two tandem’s monickers (read on, you’ll get what I mean) in my list. One monicker was shared by two great players (Thanks be to Mr. Eala). Without further ado, the Top 20 Greatest Monickers list below.
1.The Big J – Robert Jaworski
At 6 feet tall (or short, if you are cynical), he aint that big but this monicker fits him. Derived perhaps from his bigger than life persona. Or more likely, because of his large mitts. As he also cared (still cares) for his fans, it can also apply to Big J’s big heart. Thus, this tops my list. Later derived… The Barreling Big J.
2. The Living Legend – Robert Jaworski
Coined in mid-80s when he took over the Ginebra reign, he was or still is, the unequaled Living Legend of Philippine Basketball. Letdown: After he retired (did he?), can you still say “living”?
3. Skywalker – Samboy Lim
Next to Jaworski, Avelino “Samboy” Lim was the only player that can truly electrify the court and the fans. Why? Because of the aerial voyages (sorry Vergel) he made. Thus he’s called “The Skywalker”! The “Samboy” nick alone was uber-cool on its own but putting the tag, SKYWALKER was something huh? Letdown: I believe one NBA player was labeled the “Skywalker” earlier than him. But what the heck, I like it anyway. Letdown # 2: He was injured so much throughout his career, people should have devised a back-up monicker, like perhaps, “LandRover” or “Caned-Walker”
4. The Captain – Alvin Patrimonio
Earlier it was “The Captain” but it was later changed to “Captain Lionheart” by, yes you guessed it, the Dean, Quinito Henson. Probably thinking that Kareem Abdul Jabbar was the first guy to use that, it was changed to have originality. Also, I figured, each team has its own captain isn’t it? It would be disrespectful to team’s own captain if players called out Alvin Patrimoino, “Captain”. Thus, it was changed to “Captain Lionheart”. Letdown: Sounds like a Disney film.
5. The Dynamite or Dynamite – Shared by Danny Seigle and Chito Loyzaga
Both befit the trade name. But Chito Loyzaga was the original Dynamite. Not because of his explosiveness to the hoop as showcased by Danny Seigle but because of his timely 3-point bombs. I just don’t know if there is code of conduct in making monickers, but it should be a rule that there should be no repetitive use of monickers in a span of like 25 years. Noli Eala relived the use of the Dynamite. He could have easily given Danny the, “C4″. Letdown: Chito “The Dynamite” Loyzaga can’t jump over a Century Tuna can. Plus, the monicker was re-cycled.
6. The Bull – Nelson Asaytono
People jumped on this monicker faster than Nelson can take his customary 30 shots a game. People figured, we better start calling him “The Bull” rather than calling him the other option, the downright funny “Baby Face”. Long before the Red Bull franchise entered the PBA, Asaytono already pitched the energy drink. When a corporation comes calling to let you know that they will use your monicker or image in an ad, your nickname made it. Later Enrico Villanueva was tagged as “The Raging Bull”.
7. The Director – Hector Calma
In his time, Hector Calma was the premier point guard of the PBA. His steady orchestration of San Miguel plays gave him this name. You know you got a monicker winner, when it rhymes with the player’s name and equally, it describes him. Hector “The Director”, Swak!
8. The Tank – Noli Locsin
I didn’t follow Noli Locsin in the amateurs so I don’t know if the “The Tank” originated in his early days. But in his PBA Debut, Sev Sarmenta call him that, The Tank. And boy, he was just that. Letdown: He played quality basketball for only 5 to 7 years. When he played at Pop, coached by I believe Derek Pumaren, he later, well, tanked. Later, during his “bayan ng superstars” days, people also called him… “The Flying Tank”.
9. The Spark – Mark Caguioa
One of the new-generation players with ultra-sticky monickers, Mark Cagiuoa was baptized by Quinito Henson as “The Spark”. For a while, Mark “The Spark” Caguioa would be the way to introduce Mark. But the emergence of Jayjay Helterbrand as the lighting fast partner paved the way for Mark’s second nice tag, known as the other half of “The Fast and the Furious”. Mark being the ‘Furious” one.
10. The Magic Man – Dondon Ampalayo
Dondon Ampalayo early years was truly magical. Not an original nick, ’cause mid 80′s, Eeeeeervin ‘Magic’ Johnson was already creating havoc in the NBA. But hell, this is a classic monicker and definitely makes the list.
11. The Destroyer – Rudy Distrito
Need no explanation here but what the heck, I’ll say something anyway. He is truly “The Destroyer”. Even his own career (and later, life), he virtually finished it off in smacking Jeffrey Cariaso. And well, you know your hoop news. Where he is now? He’s out west and in a mess.
12. Tapal King – Philip Cesar
Some 25 years later, he is still known as the “Tapal King”. Besides that, that basketball parlance is still used today, as in “Tapal!” (or, Sapal! if it’s Noli Eala). To add, Philip Cezar was able to score a couple of endorsements by being the “Tapal King”. Remember his Vulcaseal commercials? A sign that his monicker is a hit. He is A.K.A. ‘The Scholar’.
13. The Tower Of Power – Benjie Paras
Funny how you can be called “The Tower of Power” when you’re only 6-4. But hey, it was daring and original. Only Joe Cantada might have thought of this. This surely beats “Bondying”.
14. The Triggerman – Allan Caidic
Another all-original monicker, “The Triggerman” surely applied to Allan Caidic. True story: In an old internet article I read 2 – 3 years back, an English Korean daily wrote, Allan “The Triggerman” Caidic blah blah blah… Yes, there was a monicker insert in his name. Even the Koreans were caught up calling him that.
15. The Flash – Bal David
Quinito might have baptized more monicker than any other commentator here in the Philippines. “The Flash” is another Henson’s baby. Bal “The Flash” David’s legendary hits (against Mobiline, one that made Taulava cry and another against San Miguel, the buzzer beater) truly made his monicker valid. With his flash moves, he was able to do those stuff.
16. The Slasher – Rodney Santos
Given by Quinito too (Quinito loves to use “The” so much). “The Slasher” was given to Rodney because of the way he slashes in the middle. But later in his career, waiting for a pass of a double team from Menk, he evolved into a three-point shooter. Note that this alias should be said and shouted in an angry fashion. Otherwise, it won’t be as effective like the way Quinito says this… The Slashhhhheeer!!!! If said in a lame and casual manner, this will not make the list. So practice saying… The Slashhhhheeer!!!! Letdown: Rodney Santos facial feature helped him in landing him the monicker. A little unfair for the other guys, you know.
17. Bruise Brothers – Ricky Relosa and Yoyoy Villamin
Bruise Brothers is only one of two tag team player monickers I got here in this list. Why it made the list? Anytime you forgot a player’s name and you can remember his monicker, that’s gotta be a good monicker. You will forget, Ricky. You will forget, Relosa. But you will not forget his partnership with Yoyoy Villamin, being the “Bruise Brothers”. Letdown: Relosa later had an altercation with hot-tempered Ronnie Thompkins. He smacked Thompkins at his nape prompting Thompkins to run after him. No longer in tandem with Yoyoy, he ran towards his bench. Thus, by this time, he was not the other half of the Bruise Brothers anymore BUT a bruised (ego) brother.
18. Mr. Excitement – Bong Alvarez
This was probably a Sev Sarmeta cooking. By virtue of using “Mr”, it should make the list. How many hot-monickers we have with “Mr.” in it? Just don’t bring up Mr. Gayoso’s, Mr. Adrenaline because that monicker was a little bit coined to emphasize his utter delight to shoot. Donâ€™t bring up Mr. Quality Minutes or Mr. Fourth Quarter Man either, as these were given to too many players. (More on this in my later posts.)
19. The Fast and the Furious – Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand
Why only ranked 19? Itâ€™s still not tested by time. Let’s see how this hold up. In the meantime, the two are cashing in on endorsement deals using this monicker. I think they should thank Mico Halili for this. But you see, Jayjay is a whiny kid, his tenure at Ginebra is not built on a rock. Remember how he sat out one season because his contract negotiation with Ginebra soured a bit? Give 2 to 3 seasons and lets see if the tandem stays. If the tandem stays, likely, so too the monicker. The tandem is also called “Ang Mabilis at ang Mabangis.” Cool!
20. El Presidente – Ramon Fernandez
For its sheer coolness, Don Ramon’s El Presidente is making this list. I mean, how many spanish monickers out there huh? Nada! Intiendes?
There you have it folks. Iâ€™m sure you got your own favorites. Share ‘em!