Looking at longevity & tenure in the PBA
by rick olivares
Does longevity and tenure help a team? Or does it breed bad habits since one could think they have security of tenure?
I will ONLY look at the top five PBA clubs as per the rankings of Wednesday, November 19, 2014 and examine their rosters.
The Alaska Aces are currently on top with a 6-1 record. They have nine players on their roster who have played three or more seasons with the club in Sonny Thoss, Tony dela Cruz, Sam Eman, Cyrus Baguio, Paolo Bugia, RJ Jazul, Calvin Abueva, JVee Casio, and the injured Gabby Espinas.
The San Miguel Beermen, also at 6-1, have few players on their roster who have played that long as well. They are led by six-year SMB vet Arwind Santos followed by Chris Lutz, Marcio Lassiter and JuneMar Fajardo.
The 5-2 Barangay Ginebra San Miguel have Jayjay Helterbrand and Mark Caguio who have played their entire careers for the club. There’s also Billy Mamaril, LA Tenorio and Chris Ellis who have stayed with them for a while now.
Rain or Shine has demonstrated a lot of loyalty to its players with a whole bunch of them having played their entire careers with the club. They are led by captain Jireh Ibañes who didn’t have a great college career but has proven to be a steady one with this club as he has reinvented himself into a defensive specialist with lots of hops. Then there’s Ryan Araña, Gabe Norwood, TY Tang, Jervy Cruz, Jonathan Uyloan, Paul Lee, and Chris Tiu who have only known this team while in the PBA. Also logging more than three years with the Elasto Painters are Jeff Chan, Beau Belga, and JR Quiñahan.
The Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters are another team like RoS with loads of long-tenured players. They are led by 12-year veterans Jimmy Alapag and Harvey Carey. They have seven-year players Jason Castro and Ranidel De Ocampo. Ryan Reyes, Kelly Williams, Larry Fonacier, and Aaron Aban who have been with the team for seasons now.
The GlobalPort Batang Pier, tied with TNT with a 4-3 record, are the team that is an exception as the club is only in its third year in the league. With a coaching staff and line-up constantly in flux, it’s hard to peg them. But they do have loads of PBA vets who know how to get the job done. But let’s see how they hold off the Purefoods Star Hot Shots who look to have found their championship groove.
And the Star Hot Shots are another squad with long-tenured players beginning with James Yap and PJ Simon who know of no other PBA team other than the one they play for. They are followed by nine-year club vet Marc Pingris and Rafi Reavis, Mark Barroca and Joe Devance.
In a chat with Alaska Aces head coach Alex Compton prior to tip-off of the PBA’s 40th Season, he told me that the team decided to keep the bulk of the squad that helped win their 14th title together. “We feel we have a good team with very good pieces to win another championship. We want to keep it together for a bit and see if we can go on another run. If we keep adding or changing to the roster, there will be chemistry problems and re-learning the system or the culture of what we want to introduce.”
That Aces line-up, although with Luigi Trillo as head coach, has one PBA title to their name. The Beermen haven’t won with this current line-up but Arwind Santos won one with Petron Blaze under then head coach Ato Agustin.
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel is another team that hasn’t won yet with this current line-up.
RoS has owns title with this squad under head coach Yeng Guiao. “It has helped that we’ve been together for a while now,” admits Gabe Norwood who also says there’s no sign of slacking off especially with the still fiery Guiao after all these years at the helm. “No. Not at all. Not with coach around! (laughs) We’re always looking to win another championship.”
Talk ‘N Text has won five crowns under coaches Chot Reyes and Norman Black. So current taskmaster Jong Uichico is following some mean footsteps. And of course, we all know what the Purefoods teams has won in recent years with this lineup (although under the brand names of B-Meg and San Mig Coffee).
We will take a look at the next tier teams in our next column.