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3 Grand Slam cagers grace PBAPC Awards

Three members of Grand Slam teams from different eras will personally toast the top individual honorees and personalities of the 2014 PBA Press Corps Annual Awards Night set this Thursday at the Richmond Hotel in Eastwood City, Libis, Quezon City.

Cage greats Fortunato `Atoy’ Co, Hector Calma, and Jojo Lastimosa serve as guests of honor and speakers as they recount their own experience of completing a three-conference sweep during a season on this special occasion which has a theme `There Are Champions…and There Are Grand Slam Champions!’

All three get to narrate their respective stories to celebrate the league’s first Grand Slam in 18 years pulled off by the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers in the season just passed.

Co was among the top guns of the fabled Crispa Redmanizers team that won not just one, but two Grand Slams in PBA history, achieving the milestone in 1976 under legendary coach Virgilio `The Maestro’ Dalupan, and in 1983 behind the stewardship of Tommy Manotoc.

For his part, Calma served as the chief point guard of the San Miguel Beer franchise that similarly accomplished the act in 1989 under the watchful eye of Norman Black, before Lastimosa teamed up with coach Tim Cone to give Alaska its own Grand Slam in 1996.

All three will join the group of scribes – under president Barry Pascua of Bandera – who regularly cover the PBA beat, in toasting the men who excelled throughout the 39th season of Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league including the winner of the prestigious Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year, respectively.

First held in 1993, the PBAPC Awards Night is backed by the PBA, Alaska, Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel, Barako Bull, Blackwater Sports, Globalport, Kia Motors, Meralco, NLEX, Rain or Shine, San Mig Super Coffee, and Talk `N Text.

Already named are Marc Pingris as Defensive Player of the Year, along with San Mig Coffee teammates Peter June Simon and Mark Barroca, who are the recipient of the Quality Minutes and Order of Merit awards, respectively.

Veteran Asi Taulava is the Comeback Player of the Year, Jayson Castro is the Scoring Champion, while the All-Rookie Team includes Greg Slaughter, Ian Sangalang, Justin Melton, Terrence Romeo, and Raymond Almazan.

Also to be recognized during the formal rite are the winners of the last PBAPC Sportswriting Contest.

The Coach of the Year trophy, won last year by Alaska mentor Luigi Trillo, is named after the legendary Virgilio ‘Baby’ Dalupan, while the late Danny Floro, the flamboyant team owner of the fabled Crispa Redmanizers, has lent his name to the Executive of the Year plum, brought home last year by the entire PBA Board of Governors.