Many of us know the Philippines as a country with beautiful beaches. But did you know the country is also obsessed with basketball? The country’s league has produced some of the best Filipino basketball player who are on par with any athlete around the globe.
Moreover, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) was the first basketball league in Asia. It was the first pro basketball league established outside the United States. It is one of the most popular sports in the country.
Therefore, there have been many Filipino basketball players who have left an impression on an international platform. Despite the typical stereotypes and physical appearances, Filipino players are adept at the sport.
Being mindful about all these things, we have come up with this list of some of the best Filipino basketball players of all time. These players have achieved remarkable achievements in national as well as international competitions.
So, now, without any delay, let us dive into the list and learn about some of the best Filipino basketball players of all time.
Top 10 Best Filipino Basketball Player Of All Time
|10. Allan Caidic||59 years-old|
|9. Johnny Abarrientos||52 years-old|
|8. Ricardo Brown||65 years-old|
|7. James Yap||40 years-old|
|6. Benjie Paras||53 years-old|
|5. Alvin Patrimonio||55 years-old|
|4. Bogs Adornado||71 years-old|
|3. Ramon Fernandez||68 years-old|
|2. Robert Jaworski||68 years-old|
|1. June Mar Fajardo||32 years-old|
10. Allan Caidic
The first Filipino player we are starting our list with is the retired professional basketball player Allan Caidic. Full name Allan Vitor Flores Caidic, he is considered to be the greatest Filipino shooter.
Caidic began his basketball playing career early in his fifth grade at Roosevelt College. However, his professional debut was in 1984 with the Northern Consolidated Cement.
After his debut, he played for several PBA teams like the Magnolia, Great Taste Coffee Makers / Presto Tivoli, San Miguel Beermen, PBA Centennial Team, and Barangay Ginebra Kings.
Similarly, Caidic also played for the Philippine national team. Some of his notable achievements and records include the most points scored in a single game and the most three-point field goals made in a single game.
Likewise, he also holds the record for the most consecutive free throws made and the most three-point field goals in a career. Caidic, during his playing career, made his name as one of the best three-point shooters in Asia.
After retiring from his playing career, Caidic, transitioned into a coaching career from 1998 to 2015.
9. Johnny Abarrientos
Our ninth-best Filipino basketball player is former professional basketball player Johnny Abarrientos. Despite his short stature, he was named “The Flying A” for his powerful playing style.
Abarrientos started playing basketball at the University Athletic Association of the Philippines for the Far Eastern University Tamaraws. During this period, The Flying A led his team to win UAAP crowns twice, in 1991 and 1992.
He was also part of the Philippine Basketball League’s Crispa Redmanizers and Triple-V. Then the Alaska Aces drafted Abarrientos the 3rd overall in the 1993 PBA draft, from where his professional career began.
Aside from the Aces, he also played for the Pop Cola Panthers, Coca-Cola Tigers, and Barangay Ginebra Kings during his professional career.
He is the shortest player to win the PBA Most Valuable Player, the league’s highest individual award among his many accolades. After he retired from his playing career, Abarrientos became a basketball coach.
Currently, Abarrientos is an assistant coach for the Magnolia Hotshots and the head coach for FEU Tamaraws.
8. Ricardo Brown
Nicknamed “The Quick Brown Fox,” we have Ricardo Brown as number 8 of the best Filipino basketball player of all time. He is a former Filipino-American former professional basketball player.
Brown played in various basketball college teams in the United States. His performance soon earned him a notable reputation. As a result, the Houston Rockets drafted him as the 59th overall pick in the 3rd Round of the 1979 NBA draft.
Unfortunately, he was not signed by any team. Despite this, Brown continued playing basketball and later moved to the Philippines. He played college basketball for De La Salle University before making his PBA debut in 1983.
Brown made his professional debut with the Great Taste Coffee Makers. He was the first-ever Filipino-American to play as a local in the league. From 1983 to 1987, “The Quick Brown Fox” played for the Coffee Makers.
Similarly, he also played for the San Miguel Beermen between 1988-1990. Brown has carved his legacy as one of PBA’s finest players and sportspeople to play in the Philippines’ hardcourts.
7. James Yap
James Yep is a professional basketball player and one of the most popular players in the PBA league. Nicknamed “Big Game James,” he made his PBA debut in 2004.
Yap started playing basketball in high school and was among the most successful players. He also played collegiate-level basketball for the UE Red Warriors and was named the 2003 UAAP Most Valuable Player.
Similarly, from 2001 to 2004, Yap played in the Philippine Basketball League. Then, Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants selected him as the 2nd overall pick in the 2004 PBA draft.
During Yap’s rookie year, he mostly came off the bench. The following season, James received more playing time and thus, established himself as one of the power players.
Among his many achievements, his most notable one was the historic grand slam in 2014.
Yap and his teammates won the 2013-2014 Commissioners’ Cup and the 2013-2014 Governors’ Cup Finals MVP award.
Likewise, he is the third all-time leading scorer in Star Hotshots (franchise of Purefoods) history. Since 2016, Yap has been playing for the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
6. Benjie Paras
Born Venancio Johnson Paras Jr., Benjie Paras is a former professional basketball player and number 6 of the best Filipino basketball player of all time. He was the star player of the Shell Turbo Chargers.
Paras played high school and collegiate basketball before making his PBA debut. The Turbo Chargers drafted him in 1989, and he played for the team most of his professional playing career.
While playing for the Turbo Chargers, he earned his nickname “The Tower of Power.” Paras had the uncanny ability for ball-handling, powerful rebounding, well-timed shot blocks, and inside scoring.
In 1989, he became the only PBA player to win both Rookie of the Year and the Most Valuable Player award in a single season. From 1989 to 2002, Paras played for the Turbo Chargers and led the team to several championship titles.
Then from 2002 to 2003, he played with the San Miguel Beermen, after which he retired. After his retirement, Paras transitioned into a coaching career.
He served as the assistant coach for San Beda Red Lions from 2012 to 2019 and UP Fighting Marrons from 2019 to 2020.
5. Alvin Patrimonio
On number 5, we have Alvin Patrimonio, a former professional basketball player who manages the Magnolia Hotshots. He spends his whole playing career with the Purefood franchise.
Patrimonio started his amateur career playing for the Mapau Institute of Technology. He played as the team’s center in the NCAA from 1983 to 1986. Furthermore, he was the NCAA Most Valuable Player back-to-back in 1985 and 1986.
Additionally, Patrimonio also played for the Philippine national team. He joined the Purefood franchise in 1988.
Some of his notable PBA records include most consecutive games played, third-most points scored in history, fourth-most rebounds grabbed in history, and second-most PBA Most Valuable Player awards.
Patrimonio is also known for playing most Asian Games along with Allan Caidic and is the second-best player to win three Best Player of the Conference. Alvin retired from his professional playing career in 2004.
After his retirement, Patrimonio became an assistant coach for UST in 2015 and NY Bulldogs from 2016 to 2017.
4. Bogs Adornado He retired from his professional
Dubbed as one of the best Filipino basketball players of all time, we have Bogs Adornado as number 4 of our best Filipino basketball players. He is a former basketball player and coach.
Adornado started playing basketball at age six. Similarly, he was a legendary basketball player while he attended the University of Santos Tomas.
He started his amateur career playing for the RP Youth squad in the inaugural Asian Youth Basketball Championship in Seoul. Likewise, he was the youngest Philippine Men’s Olympic basketball team member to play in the 1972 Munich Games.
Adornado made his PBA debut in 1970 with Crispa Redmanizers. The team was one of the pioneers of the PBA when the league was formed in 1975. He also played for teams like U/Tex, Great Taste, Shell, and Hills Bros during his career.
Adornado is one of PBA’s Greatest Players and was inducted into the PBA”s Hall of Fame in 2005. Like most of the players in our list, he also became a coach after he retired from his playing career.
3. Ramon Fernandez
We are down to the top 3 players. On number 3, we have former professional basketball player Ramon Fernandez. Many regard Fernandez as one of the greatest players to have ever played in the Philippine Basketball Association.
In 1972, Fernandez made his professional basketball-playing debut with the San Miguel Corporation Braves. Since then, he went on to play with various other PBA teams.
Before making his PBA debut, Fernandez was a member of several national teams like the 1972 ABC Under-18 Championship, 1973 ABC Championship, 1974 FIBA World Championship and Asian Games, and 1990 Asian Games.
After starting his career with the Braves, he played for other teams like Toyota, Beer hausen/Manila Beer, Tanduay Rhum Makers, Purefoods Hotdogs, and San Miguel Beermen.
Fernandez is PBA’s all-time leader in rebounds, blocked shots, free throws made, playing minutes, and second all-time in assists, games played, and steals. He also served as a coach for Purefoods Hotdogs in 1988.
Currently, Fernandez is serving as the commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission.
2. Robert Jaworski
Robert Jaworski is a former professional basketball player who played 23 seasons in PBA. He is widely regarded as one of the best and most popular PBA players of all time.
Jaworski was born to an American father of Polish descent and a Filipino mother. He grew up in Manila and started playing basketball during his college year. He played for the East Red Warriors and won back-to-back titles in the 1965 and 1966 UAAP seasons.
Similarly, Jaworski made the amateur selection for the 1966 Bangkok Asian Games. His amateur debut was in 1967 with YCO Painters. He also played for the Mercalo from 1968 to 1971.
His professional debut was in 1973 with Toyota. Jaworski spent ten years playing for the team, after which Toyota disbanded. Then from 1984 to 1998, he played for the Ginebra San Miguel.
Jaworski served as the coach of the San Miguel from 1985 to 1998. He was named one of the PBA’s 40 Greatest Players for his exceptional skills and achievements. In 2005. Jaworski was inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame.
1. June Mar Fajardo
Our number 1 best Filipino basketball player goes to June Mar Fajardo. Fajardo is the professional basketball player for the San Miguel Beermen and is known as “The Kraken” for his extraordinary figure and finesse.
Before his professional debut in PBA, Fajardo played collegiate basketball for the University of Cebu Webmasters. His incredible ability soon caught the eyes of the local sports analysts, who dubbed him the Future of Philippine basketball.
In 2011, Fajardo made his professional debut with the San Miguel Beermen. Although he struggled at the beginning of his rookie year, he soon established himself as an integral part of the team.
Aside from the PBA, Fajardo also played in the Philippines national team. He was part of the 2013 FIBA Asia Championship, 2014 FIBA Asia Cup, 2017 Quezon City, 2017, and 2021 Southeast Asian Games.
Fajardo became the first person in the league’s history to win PBA Most Valuable Player Award consecutively throughout the six seasons from 2014 to 2019.
Although many Filipino players have graced basketball courts with their exceptional skills, they are mostly unknown. We hope our list sheds light on some of these basketball figures of the Philippines.
These players have brought glory to their home country through national and international achievements. Do you know of any other best Filipino players of all time? Let us know!