This was an off shoot of the recent news on Terry Saldana, who was in the hospital and in desperate need of financial help. The good thing was there were a lot of of people who extended help to the former PBA player.
You see, it is also a fact that there were those, who were given a second chance in life but wasted it, like a former PBA guard who went into drugs, asked for another break, but returned to drugs again.
But it is also true that there were players who made good after retiring from the court, or at least found steady employment mostly in the local basketball world as coaches or assistant coaches, some even in the corporate world as management people.
So this time, let me talk and give credit to those who were able to see into the future and prepared for it.
For those who were superstars in their heydays and got hefty paychecks, I can say the likes of Alvin Patrimonio and Allan Caidic are set for life. They are fortunate, too, that they got employed by their former teams as team managers or in the coaching staff.
Chito Loyzaga, after retiring, worked with La Tondena, both with the team and in marketing. I was VP Operations then of Victoria Court and Hotel La Corona when Chito, together with Mike Bilbao, who was also in marketing, supplied our hotels with distilled water.
Hector Calma, together with wife Inez Ortiz, made a bid to handle warehousing operations for San Miguel Beer in the south area, and as far as I know, still runs the business.
Ginebra’s role player Wilmer Ong was low key, but is a very successful businessman, hands on at that with his wife. Their business has something to do with beauty care products.
Atoy Co opened a restaurant at the Metro Walk, but I am not sure how the business is now with this pandemic.
I also saw a Facebook post of a media colleague, not in sports though, showing off a beautiful rest house in Tagaytay, supposedly owned by Rommel Adducul. The said house is now open for private events. To own a good property in this area means you have money.
For those who went into the corporate world, at the top of the list is Great Taste’s Cho Sison, who became a senior official at the Philippine National Bank.
There is also Fritz Gaston, who even worked as an expat in Indonesia for several years with wife Duday. They even hosted me and my family in the mid-80s in Jakarta one time, while Steve Watson recently retired from Sky as a senior manager.
Gabby Cui is employed in the MVP Group of Companies and is also a team manager, while my good friend Mike Advani is a successful businessman, who supplies apparel to SM, aside from co-owning several Shakey’s restaurants. He is the current president of the Filipino-Indian Chamber of Commerce.
I also know of two very good MICAA players, Gerry Versoza from YCO and Vito Orcullo from Crispa, who became successful even after their playing careers. Gerry was (or maybe still is) GM of Baguio’s water utility, while Vito has put up his own life insurance branch, a very successful one at that.
There were a lot of former players, too, who tried their luck in the United States and Australia, and at least enjoyed a relatively comfortable life.
San Beda and Tanduay’s Chuck Barreiro has long been based in Hawaii with his wife BJ. I have visited him several times, not because I have money, but because of a lifetime trip pass as a result of my wife’s long years working at Philippine Airlines.
Mainland USA hosts a lot of former basketball players, led by Abe King, Gary Vargas, Noni Robles, deceased Danny Florencio, Estoy Estrada and Anthony Dasalla, who even hosted a mini-reunion at his house when I was there with Estrada and Marte Saldana. You also have Francis Arnaiz, Etok Lobo, Rene Canent, Bernard Fabiosa, Abet Guidaben, Jett Dungo, Cris Calilan, Ramon Duzon, Mike Bilbao, Yoyoy Villamin, Joel Gomez, Ed Cuevas, and Ricky Relosa, among others.
Ex-coaches Perry Ronquillo and Rino Salazar are also in the list.
If you are in America, try to get in touch with ex-FEU player Danny Manalastas, who can connect you practically to anyone.
We also have those who went into basketball coaching, like Robert Jaworski, Leo Isaac, Turing Valenzona, Frankie Lim, Ed Cordero, Gabby Velasco, Estong Ballesteros, Pido Jarencio Boyet Fernandez, Leo Austria, Johnny Abarrientos, Jojo Lastimosa, Freddie Webb, Jeffrey Cariaso, Glenn Capacio, Gerry Esplana, Boybits Victoria, Bong Ravena, Norman Black, Caloy Garcia, Chito Victolero, Dindo and Derek Pumaren, Atoy Co, Allan Caidic and Gaston.
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