With less than three seconds remaining in the game, your team is down a point, who should take the last shot? Better yet, what kind of shot do you want him to make?
In the 42-year history of the PBA, we’ve witnessed an assortment of patented moves coming from the league's most outstanding players. It is not uncommon to see them go to their suki moves, especially when the game's on the line. We sometimes wonder why opposing teams can’t seem to stop them and their signature game-clinchers—everyone knows they'll have the ball come crunch time 99 percent of the time, after all.
FHM.com.ph lists down the Top 10 most clutch go-to shots in PBA history. But first, these honorable mentions:
Terrence Romeo (Killer Crossover)
Romeo’s vaunted separation move using the crossover stepback has allowed him to extricate himself from a sticky defense to get an open, yet difficult shot. It won’t take long before we see this move crack the Top 10, especially when Romeo keeps doing this during key moments in the game.
Allan Caidic (Off-the-Screen Snapshot)
What makes The Triggerman so difficult to guard was his ability to take a quick shot off a feed. Caidic is arguably the best player to ever use a teammates' pick to get himself open. And for him, a second was more than enough to launch a back-breaking basket from anywhere on the court.
Ronnie Magsanoc (Quick Release Trey)
Magsanoc’s best years were in 1990 and 1991 when he was almost unstoppable. Bruised and battered by the physical defense of the Añejo/Ginebra defenders in the finals of these two seasons, the Point Laureate relied on his speed to get to spots where he launched quick shots with deadly accuracy. The result? Formula Shell's first PBA title in 1990, for one.
Hector Calma (Mid-Range Jumper from a Kick-Out)
The Director proved time again how worthy he was of his classic monicker. His court generalship was exceptional. But he was also great at giving opposing teams fits. More often than not, Calma had bailed out his team by sinking top-of-the-key mid-range jumpers from a double-teamed teammate's timely kick out pass.
10) Jerry Codiñera (Side Bank)
Codiñera may be the second best player in PBA history to utilize the bank shot efficiently, just next to Freddie Hubalde. What made his version stood out, however, was his uncanny ability to sink these shots at critical moments of the game, particularly when teammate Alvin Patrimonio was double-teamed on the other side of the paint. A picture-perfect shot that’s extremely difficult to defend.
9) Jojo Lastimosa (Perimeter Jumper)
Lastimosa wasn’t called the Fourth Quarter Man for nothing. One of the greatest closers in PBA history, he took over during crunch time when only a few wanted to. Finding himself open in the corner, Jolas would wait for a pass from a cutting Johnny Abarrientos and find those no-hesitation baskets swishing the net.
8) Johnny Abarrientos (Pull-Up)
The Alaska Aces of the '90s had everything so good. When Abarrientos didn't get to feed an open Lastimosa in the corner, he’d normally take it upon himself to pull up after a burst of speed for a medium-range jumper. Dindo Pumaren and Bal David, two speedsters themselves, were at a lost in neutralizing this deadly Flying A go-to.
7) Alex Cabagnot (Top-of-the-Key Trey)
How often have we seen Cabagnot take the final shot to lead the Beermen to victory? It’s almost a common sight, A-Cab pulling up and taking a jumper from beyond the arc. His willingness to take the final shot with the game on the line gave him a slot in this list.
6) Mark Caguioa (One-Handed Floater)
During his younger years, Caguioa would not hesitate to attack and penetrate to get the two points from within 8 feet. In the more recent years, the Spark became a go-to guy for the Kings. His favorite spots: both corners just outside the box, where he’d normally take his patented one-handed floater that usually goes past the outstretched arms of his defender.
5) James Yap (Flip-of-the-Finger Shot)
Not all players are blessed with large hands capable of handling the ball with ease. Robert Jaworski, Sr. had one; James Yap possessed the same physical gift. Yap has always been a regular at crunch time. Using the screen, he moves around, spots up, and flips the ball using his fingers for the winning shot. Effortless!
4) Jayson Castro (Hesitation Dribble Before the Penetration)
There’s no denying Castro has been the quickest player in the PBA (and in Asia!) for the past couple of years. And because he has added the three-point shot in his already fearsome offensive arsenal, the Blur has become one of the deadliest clutch players today. The set up to this move is simple enough. He dribbles from top of the key, makes a hesitation move, then explodes towards the basket or takes a quick jumper.
3) June Mar Fajardo (Seal)
Jockeying for position inside the paint is not fun, especially when the man you’re trying to stop is June Mar Fajardo. The 6’10 behemoth isn’t just a skyscraper; he’s muscular and knows how to position and pivot well. Once the Kraken finds his spot and seals his defender, chalk up an automatic two for the Beermen—an “and one” situation at that. This is the Beermen’s bread and butter play, perhaps the most formidable offensive go-to move today.
2) Alvin Patrimonio (Spin Move)
Captain Lionheart earned his name because he was the primary go-to-guy in the '90s. Patrimonio used his muscles and strength to back down an opposing defender before making that vaunted pirouette to leave his defender eating dust. Just how potent was this play? Let’s just say that during The Captain’s peak years from 1991-1997, the Hotdogs went to this play almost exclusively every time, with success.
1) Ramon Fernandez (Elegant Shot)
There’s no question about it. Whenever El Presidente would move to either side of the perimeter and take off—his right knee protruding to provide separation between himself and his defender, his body contouring in mid-air, and ball in his right hand—you could count on Fernandez to gently release the sphere with his fingers for a sure pair of points. This move—part of Don Ramon’s offensive wizardry dating back in 1979 and perfected in 1984—is practically indefensible (opposing teams could only hope that he misses the shot). The elegant shot has given Fernandez’s teams more than their share of victories and championships, making it the top go-to move of all-time in the PBA.