After Ginebra and San Miguel, one can argue that Purefoods is the next most popular franchise in the league. It shouldn't come as a surprise. The team has seen its mix of talented and charismatic players since coming into the league in 1988, winning 13 championships along the way.
There's one downside though: With all the big names in the mix, it was hard to come up with just five players for as its all-time starters. Take a look, and shoot a few comments if there are picks you disagree with.
C – JERRY CODIÑERA
A terror inside the paint for guards brave enough to drive and big-men trying to test their mettle against the man they call the "Defense Minister." The awards speak for themselves: nine PBA All-Defensive Team selections and the 1994 PBA Defensive Player of the Year. In basketball circles, it's widely believed that if Jerry didn't play with Alvin Patriumonio, the former UE Warrior would've won a PBA MVP trophy or two. He came close in 1992 when we averaged 16.7 ppg, 10.3 rpg and 2.1 bpg—his best overall line during his stay with Purefoods from 1988 to 1999.
- Nine-time All Defensive Team member
- Three-time Mythical First Team member
- Five-time Mythical Second Team member
- 1994 Defensive Player of the Year
- 1994 All-Filipino Cup Best Player of the Conference
Runners-up: Kerby Raymundo, Ramon Fernandez, Andy Seigle
PF – ALVIN PATRIMONIO
Are you even surprised? Utter the words "The Captain," and any true-blooded Filipino would know just who you're talking about.
In his heyday, the 6’3” power forward was such a beast that he'd routinely tear up double- and triple-teams. Whenever the Purefoods squads of the '90s needed a big basket, all they needed to do was call an isolation play for number 16 and let him do his thing. He's tied with Ramon Fernandez for most PBA MVP awards at four, accumulated while leading the team to five championships. So popular was he, that it'd be a PR disaster if the team traded him away in his waning years. Alvin played all 17 years of his pro career with Purefoods, and in his first 11, he had all-star averages of 20.3 ppg and 8.3 rpg. Whether he's the PBA’s GOAT is open to argument but he is—inarguably—the GOAT of the Purefoods franchise.
- Four-time MVP
- 10-time Mythical First Team member
- Three-time Best Player of the Conference
- 13-time PBA All-Star
Runners-up: Marc Pingris, Abe King
SF - REY EVANGELISTA
Image via Rivals.ph
He was never a big-time scorer, let alone a franchise player, but he brought exactly what his team needed from the small forward position: the ability to guard the opposing teams’ top dogs including imports. He did so, and did it commendably.
The former UST Growling Tiger can also be relied upon with hitting the open jumper, sinking in shots from way beneath the basket and finishing on the fastbreak. While his numbers won't wow you (he never averaged more than 10 points per game), he showed us how one could be the ultimate glue-guy. Champion teams need that, which is why Purefoods kept Evangelista in the team for the entire duration of his 14-year career.
- Three-time All Defensive Team member
- 2002 PBA Mythical Second Team member
- 2002 Governor’s Cup Best Player of the Conference
- Three-time PBA All-Star
Runners-up: Joe DeVance, Bong Ravena
SG – JAMES YAP
With the second pick in the 2004 PBA Draft, the then-TJ Giants lucked out as Shell selected Rich Alvarez with the first pick instead of James Yap. The selection has paid off. The former UE Warrior's ace player has suited up for 11 seasons since then, winning multiple championships—and individual awards—and becoming one of the most revered Pinoy ballers of this generation.
The guy is simply one of most dynamic scorers in PBA history, and has a knack for making shots when they matter the most—which is something that his nicknames "The Man with a Million Moves" and "Big Game James" reflect quite adequately.
Like Alvin Patrimonio, Yap has several MVP trophies. Both had also been romantically linked with TV host Kris Aquino, but we digress.
- Two-time PBA MVP
- PBA Grand Slam Champion
- Four-time PBA Finals MVP
- Three-time Mythical First Team member
- 2010 Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference
- 12-time PBA All-Star
Runners-up: Jojo Lastimosa, Noy Castillo, PJ Simon
PG - DINDO PUMAREN
Image via Spin.ph
Purefoods was fortunate to have a rock-solid floor general in Dindo Pumaren. Nicknamed “The Bullet”, the former La Salle star used his incredible quickness to set up his teammates for easy buckets and snatch the ball away from opponents for fastbreak opportunities. His ball-handling and playmaking instincts were of the highest order, which were necessities for their championship runs in the '90s.