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PBA pays tribute to 40 greatest players

Ten former Most Valuable Player (MVP) winners lead the honorees as the league pays tribute to the PBA 40 Greatest Players today in an extravagant ceremony at the Resorts World in Pasay City.

Former Talk ’N Text guard Jimmy Alapag, and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel teammates Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand will be among those 15 that will be added to the 25 who were named back in 2000 as Asia’s first pro league celebrates 40 years.

“It’s an honor to be included in the Greatest Players,” said Alapag, who recently retired from playing after nearly 13 years as members of the Tropang Texters – the only team he played for in the PBA.

“When I entered the league, all I want to do is help my team win titles. I never imagined that that at the end of my career, that I’ll be here, now part of the 40 Greatest Players in PBA history.”

“Of course, it’s a proud moment for me and to my family,” added Alapag, who captured MVP honors in 2011 and had numerous stints with the national team, including the Gilas Pilipinas.

Caguioa and Helterbrand, who form the ‘fast and furious’ duo of popular team Ginebra, were named MVPs in 2012 and 2009 – their ticket to the list that gathers the best of the best in the PBA.

“We’re honored and thankful… it’s like the icing on the cake for me and Mark,” Helterbrand said.

“For us to go together, of course that means a lot for me and Jayjay, who is like a brother to me. For me personally, I never thought I would be in there, I’m surprised and thankful,” said Caguioa.

Joining the three are two-time MVPs Danny Ildefonso (2000, 2001), Willie Miller (2002, 2007) and James Yap (2006, 2010), as well as Asi Taulava (2003), Eric Menk (2005), Kelly Williams (2008), and Arwind Santos (2013).

Except for Alapag, all nine MVPs are still active players, with Caguioa and Helterbrand playing for Ginebra, Ildefonso is now with Meralco, Miller a member of TNT with Williams, Yap still the ace gunner of Purefoods Star, Taulava now plays for NLEX, Menk now with Alaska, and Santos a stalwart with San Miguel Beer.

Joining them are non-MVP winners Jayson Castro of Text ’N Text, Marc Pingris of Purefoods, and three ex-pros Kerby Raymundo, Chito Loyzaga and Marlou Aquino.