Is Johnny A the best point guard the PBA has ever seen?

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Before all of you go crazy though, let’s look at all the point guards from the PBA 40 Greatest list and then decide if Johnny A is really the best ever. And because since it’s his birthday, we’ll make the case for Abarrientos first.

Johnny Abarrientos is celebrating his birthday today, and at 47 years old, the Flying A looks like he can still run a play or two in the PBA.

Of course, he shouldn’t since he already did his best work in the PBA years ago.

Work that that may put him on top as the best point guard the PBA has ever seen.

Before all of you go crazy though, let’s look at all the point guards from the PBA 40 Greatest list and then decide if Johnny A is really the best ever.

And because since it’s his birthday, we’ll make the case for Abarrientos first.

JOHNNY ABARRIENTOS

Selected third in the 1993 draft out of FEU, Abarrientos was beastly for the Alaska Aces throughout the decade, helping the team win eight championships including the 1996 Grand Slam, his MVP season.

He was so good that in 1997, he got an offer to try out for the Charlotte Hornets.

Yes, the Flying A almost got a chance to play in the NBA.

Abarrientos was also a staple in the Philippine national team, winning bronze in the 1998 Asian Games.

After later stints with Coca-Cola and Brgy. Ginebra, Abarrientos retired as a 12-time PBA champion and the PBA all-time leader in steals. He was one of the original players named in the PBA’s 25 Greatest list.

 

RICARDO BROWN

Also an original from the 25 Greatest list, Brown won Rookie of the Year in 1983 and was already MVP by 1985.

The man they call The Quick Brown Fox, the first Fil-Am to play in the PBA won six championships and was part of the 1989 San Miguel Grand Slam team.

Brown holds the record for highest scoring average by a local at 23.1 points per game.

 

FRANCIS ARNAIZ

A founding member of the PBA in 1975, Arnaiz played with Toyota and won all nine of his championships with the team.

With scoring as one of his specialties, Arnaiz dropped 10,292 points in his career, going for 16.8 points per game.

Arnaiz not only shine for Toyota as he was also part of the Philippine team that won gold in the 1973 FIBA-Asia Championships in Manila.

 

HECTOR CALMA

“The Director” was one of the driving forces behind the powerful San Miguel Grand Slam team from 1989.

Despite not posting gaudy numbers, Calma piloted some of the best teams not only in the PBA but on the international scene as well.

The diminutive floor general was part of the Northen Consolidated Cement national team that won the 1985 Jones Cup and FIBA-Asia championship.

Calma also led the Adamson Falcons to the 1978 UAAP title, proving that he was one of the best even before he made it to the PBA.

 

BERNIE FABIOSA

The Sultan of Swipe won 15 PBA championships, including the 1976 and 1983 Grand Slams with the fabled Crispa Redmanizers.

Also an original from the 25 Greatest list, Fabiosa ranks third all-time in steals behind Abarrientos and Ramon Fernandez. He’s also in the top 15 in all-time assists after dishing out almost 3,000 dimes.

 

ROBERT JAWORSKI

The Living Legend, Jaworski is responsible for the now-enduring “Never Say Die” attitude of Brgy. Ginebra.

Very few players can say that they were the face of one franchise, it can be argued that the Big J was the face of two after memorable stints with Toyota and the Gin Kings.

Winner of the 1978 MVP award, Jaworski won 13 PBA titles, nine as a player and four more as a playing coach.

Jaworski was also pretty incredible as a member of Team Philippines, winning two FIBA-Asia championships, one in 1967 and another in 1973.

The Living Legend likewise made it to the Olympics, seeing action in the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City and in the 1974 World Championships.

Jawo leads the PBA in all-time assists and is in the top 10 in scoring.

 

RONNIE MAGSANOC

One of the key players responsible for UP’s lone UAAP men’s seniors basketball title, the Point Laureate was also key in the pros.

Playing alongside college buddy Benjie Paras, Magsanoc won four PBA championships with Shell and was a member of the Philippine team that won silver in the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing.

Magsanoc later transitioned into coaching, winning the NCAA championship with San Beda during his rookie season.

 

JAY-JAY HELTERBRAND

One of of the famous Fast and Furious Ginebra duo, Jay-jay Helterbrand actually beat Mark Caguioa to the MVP award, winning the highest individual honor in the PBA in 2009, three years before the Spark.

At his peak, Helterbrand was the true driving force behind the barangay, winning a total of five championships in the process.

Sure, Jay-jay is a little older now but Ginebra can still count on him when it matters most, see Game 4 of the 2016 Governors’ Cup Finals.

 

JIMMY ALAPAG

Fun fact: Jimmy Alapag, as a rookie, won his first PBA title by beating Johnny Abarrientos in the Finals.

Since that first championship in 2003, the Mighty Mouse would win another five titles in his career and was one win short from the Grand Slam in 2011, his lone MVP season.

Alapag’s list of achievements include winning the first Perpetual Trophy in 2013 on top of being the PBA all-time leader in three-point shots made.

The Captain is also famous for his national team work, leading Gilas Pilipinas to a silver medal finish in the 2013 FIBA-Asia Championships and to te country’s first win in the World Cup back in 2014.

 

JAYSON CASTRO

Alapag’s runningmate in Talk ‘N Text, Jayson Castro has no MVP awards yet but he does have four Best Player of the Conference Award, second most in PBA history.

The Blur has six PBA titles so far including two Finals MVP awards.

At the prime age of 31, it’s almost safe to say that Castro, who can be practically unstoppable on offense, has another title run or two in his career, maybe even challenging the mighty June Mar Fajardo for the MVP award if he actually wants to.

After a career year in 2016 averaging 20.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game, the Chinese Basketball came calling according to several reports but Castro ultimately stayed in the PBA, signing a max contract with TNT.

The Blur has two FIBA-Asia silver medals and a World Cup appearance. More importantly, he is the reigning two-time best point guard in Asia, taking the citation in 2013 and 2015.


So who is the best point guard the PBA has ever seen? Is it our birthday boy or somebody else? Let the debates begin but make sure you greet the Flying A first.

 


Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8



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