by Dennis Eroa
WHILE admitting that he’s getting older, basketball Hall of Famer Allan Caidic continues to pull the trigger.
Fact is, the Lifetime Achievement Awardee during the hugely successful San Miguel Corporation-Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards, didn’t think twice when he expressed dismay and sadness over the seeming lack of loyalty among the present crop of collegiate players.
Caidic, whose hot shooting hands continue to be basketball’s gauge of excellence, was reacting to the well-publicized talks about the University of the East’s newest superstar, Rey Remogat.
Remogat is being showered by tempting offers from other UAAP member schools, and overseas.
Caidic said he’s not blaming Remogat or others because present-day basketball is different from his time. The situation is different because according to him a player and his family also have their needs.
The most recent case of transfer happened when San Beda’s premier playmaker Jacob Cortez.
Fresh from helping the Red Lions win the NCAA plum, the son of ex-pro Mike Cortez who gave the Green Archers three championships, agreed to move and play for UAAP titleholder De La Salle University.
“The situation is different. During our time, recruitment was unknown. All must undergo tryouts in order to selected,” said Caidic, who stressed that tryouts are usually physically and mentally tiring.
“You can have a broken nose during a tryout,” added Caidic.
Also, it is now common for UAAP teams to recruit Fil-American players. And it will not take a genius that the reinforcements will only play for a team with overflowing resources.
I remember that FEU Tamaraws were unbeatable with Anthony Williams, a 6-5 banger, on board. Sam Ekwe’s arrival turned San Beda into a powerhouse while DLSU unveiled a monster named Ben Mbala.
A three-time UAAP champion (1982, 1984, 1986) and three-time MVP (1982, 1984, 1985), Caidic noted that financial rewards will come for players when they reach the professional ranks.
He won five PBA titles and was MVP in 1990. He became Rookie of the Year when he entered the league in 1987. He would become a five-time PBA scoring champion and an eight-time All-Star, winning the MVP plum in 1993.
Caidic also shone internationally as he struck fear in Asian heavyweights like China, Korea, and Japan. He became the FIBA Asia Cup MVP in 1985.
Recently, Caidic took centerstage as he was bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Philippine Sportswriters Association in a glittery ceremony at the Diamond Hotel.
In his short but meaningful speech, Caidic said that the award is the culmination of a long journey marked by hard work and excellence. He also offered kind words to fellow awardee Avelino “Samboy” Lim.
“Samboy and I are always together. Our career is connected from start to finish,” the Triggerman stated.
Lifetime Achievement awardees
The colorful Arturo “Turing” Valenzona and energetic Dante Silverio, both coaching idols, were also given the Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Both were given ear-splitting applauses although the jampacked audience was in full attention and delighted to watch coaching icon Joe Lipa received his Lifetime Achievement Award trophy.