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Purefoods: Old name, same deadly squad

THE name Purefoods can be remembered by Filipinos for two things—one, as the leading hotdog brand, and two, as a well-loved basketball team in the PBA.

So when San Mig Coffee switched back to the name Purefoods, oldtimers from the team such as Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codinera, two of the all-time greatest players of the squad, were elated.

From 1988 to 1997, the two anchored the best frontline combination of the franchise. Together, they won five championships and had their best years playing together.

It was with Purefoods, where Patrimonio’s moniker became iconic—The Captain.

He won four Most Valuable Player awards, the most by any player,  tying with Ramon Fernandez in winning the highest individual award. It was also with this franchise that Patrimonio established a feat of becoming one of only three members to score more than 15,000 points in their careers. The other two were Fernandez and Guidaben, who ironically at one time or another, played with the old Purefoods franchise.

Codinera was Purefoods’ pillar on the defensive end. He became “The Defense Minister,” while playing for the squad for more than 10 years.

He was a many-time member of the league’s All-Defensive Team, nearly winning the MVP in 1993 and 1994 and was one of the franchise’s original members.

Learned about the news that San Mig Coffee, which won the PBA’s latest grand slam, reverted to Purefoods, the franchise’s fearsome twosome felt proud and happy.

“Masaya ako kasi diyan naman tayo nakilala at nag-umpisa,” Patrimonio told Manila Standard. “Timing rin kasi, mainit pa ‘yung team kakagaling lang sa grand-slam, so maganda ‘yung strategy marketing wise.”

“‘Yung mga dating fans namin, mas nakaka-relate now even though iba na ‘yung mga naglalaro. Mas magiging maganda in terms of fan base kasi ‘yung mga dating fans, hahalo na ngayon sa mga batang fans nina James Yap, Marc Pingris, PJ Simon and Mark Barroca,” he added.

For Codinera, it was also a good way to put themselves back on the mainstream.

“Kapag may mga guestings ako, ‘yung pangalan ng Purefoods ang hinahanap. Doon kasi ako nakilala kaya masaya ako na ibinalik na sa dating name ng Purefoods ‘yung team,” he added.

Incidentally, Purefoods will honor Codinera on Nov. 9 during its Manila Clasico encounter with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel at the Araneta Coliseum.

Aside from Codinera, another former star player of the squad, Rey Evangelista, will also be feted and their Nos. 44 and 7, respectively will be retired by the squad.

* * *

I rarely do this when writing a column, but will have to out of necessity. Calling all batches of Judge Juan Luna High School, which will have its second “Grand Alumni Homecoming” on Dec. 6, 1 p.m. at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Elliptical Road, Quezon City.  For ticket details, you may call or text the following members of the Secretariat: Tess Macalino at 0922-4957666, Florida Casaje at 0917-7345767 and Ditas David-Santos at 0916-4758281.

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