If PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial would have his way, he would include Toyota stalwarts Abe King and Arnie Tuadles in the 50 Greatest PBA Players List when the league celebrates its 50th anniversary in April 2025.
Speaking to The Rivalry at the PBA office in Libis, Marcial revealed that if he had a choice, he would prefer to have the next 10 members of the Greatest List come from those who played in the first two decades of the league.
“Sa akin lang, I would prefer to see the more senior players who were in the league from 1975 to 1994 kasi there are still several players who should be there. Si King at si Tuadles nga, dapat nasa 40 Greatest List na pero hindi naisama. Pero these two should be rightfully included in the 50 Greatest List this 2025,” Marcial explained.
An outstanding defensive forward, King won 13 championships with three different franchises in an 18-season career. He was named to his only Mythical First team selection in 1982. He averaged 10.0PPG and 6.7 rpg in 782 games and is ninth overall in total career rebounds.
Tuadles, who died in 1996, was named Rookie of the Year in 1979 and became the first rookie to be named to the league’s Mythical Five. He won 10 titles with three different franchises over 14 seasons and once held the single-game record for most assists in a game (23). He retired with averages of 13.6ppg and 3.9rpg.
The PBA will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2025 and Marcial revealed that there are several grand plans to make this a grand success. When quizzed by this writer if he intends to continue with the Greatest List, the league’s soon-to-be longest reigning Commissioner nodded affirmatively. “Tutuloy natin yan, by tradition. Ang first step natin is to form a selection committee that will be in charge of naming the nominees and eventually, selecting the next ten.”
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Marcial hasn’t thought about the personalities that will form the selection committee but cited that there’s a written guideline as to who’ll form the group. This will include a former PBA player, a former PBA coach, a noted sportscaster/writer, and a representative from the government – either the head of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) or someone from the Senate or House of Representatives. But he said he is leaning towards personalities who have seen the PBA since its inception to give a better judgement.
Asked if he intends to use the same criteria in the past by naming past MVP winners, whether retired or still playing, in the list, Marcial said he will leave that up to the selection committee. But he added that he wants the more senior and retired players be included first. “Marami naman pagkakataon pa sa future na ma-include yun mejo bago pa sa list. Pero alam din natin that there are still several players in the first 20 years that should be named first.
Marcial voluntarily named King and Tuadles at the top of his list. “Sina Abe at Arnie, I was hoping makasama sila sa 40 Greatest. I’ve seen them from the beginning and they definitely deserved to be there. Sa mga present players naman, if ever ma-retain yun mga naging MVP, I think we all know that June Mar Fajardo deserves a slot there already for winning six awards.”
The discussion came about during a meeting with PBA legends Atoy Co and Gil Cortez along with representatives from the PBA and Cignal TV, the network coverer of the PBA games. The group is in the initial stage planning a major homecoming among past Crispa and Toyota players this coming December.
(Photo from Ernie Sarmiento)