Ramon Fernandez


Ramon Fernandez
Ramon Fernandez
Alias "El Presidente", "The Franchise"
Jersey No. 10, 19
Position Center/Power Forward
Current Team Retired
Personal Info
Country  Philippines
Born October 3, 1953 (1953-10-03) (age 58)
Maasin, Southern Leyte, Philippines
Height 6 ft. 5 in.
Weight 175 lbs.
College University of San Carlos
Career Highlights
Draft Elevated, 1975
by Toyota Comets
Pro Career 1975 – 1994
Also played for


Awards Received

  • 6-Time PBA All-Star (1989-94)
  • 1982 PBA Most Valuable Player
  • 1984 PBA Most Valuable Player
  • 1986 PBA Most Valuable Player
  • 1988 PBA Most Valuable Player
  • 1976 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1977 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1978 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1979 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1980 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1981 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1982 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1984 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1986 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1988 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1989 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1991 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1992 PBA Mythical First Team
  • 1985 PBA Mythical Second Team
  • 1987 PBA Mythical Second Team
  • 1990 PBA Mythical Second Team
  • 19 PBA Championships
  • PBA's 25 Greatest Players
  • PBA Hall of Fame Class of 2005

Ramon S. Fernandez is generally regarded as the greatest basketball player (and certainly the best and most revolutionary player at the center position) produced by the Philippine Basketball Association.[1] Fernandez won four Most Valuable Player awards and a record of 19 PBA championships (the equivalent of 6 championships in the NBA as the PBA runs three championships a year) bagged. Fernandez scored 18,996 points to finish as the PBA's all-time scoring leader. He is also the PBA's all-time leader in rebounds, blocked shots, and second all-time in assists and steals. He played for five teams in his entire the PBA career starting with Toyota, Manila Beer, Tanduay, Purefoods, and with San Miguel, his last stop. Fernandez played in many overseas tournaments by being a part of the Philippine basketball team.

Contents

Career

Fernandez was a product of the University of San Carlos in Cebu and was a member of several national teams. These include the 1972 Asian Youth Championships(Champion), 1973 Asian Basketball Confederation championship team, 1974 World Basketball Championships in Puerto Rico, the 1974 Asian Games in Iran and the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing.

In 1975, Fernandez joined the Toyota team in the PBA, joining Robert Jaworski, Francis Arnáiz, Arnie Tuadles, Danny Florencio, and Abe King when they won nine titles from 1975-1983. Fernandez was the 1982 PBA Most Valuable Player, the only time he achieved the award during his days with the fabled Toyota team.

After Toyota's disbandment in 1984, Fernandez and several former Toyota teammates joined Beer Hausen. The move also further ignited a much-publicized feud with former teammate Jaworski. Fernandez won the 1984 MVP award, his second, during his first season with the Lucio Tan-owned franchise, but never led the team to the championship until he was shipped in the middle of the 1985 season to Tanduay for Abet Guidaben.

From 1986-1987, Fernandez along with former Crispa rivals Freddie Hubalde and Padim Israel, J.B. Yango, Willie Generalao, Onchie dela Cruz and imports Rob Williams, Andre McKoy and later, David Thirdkill, led the Rhum Masters to three PBA titles. Fernandez won his third MVP award in 1986.

Tanduay would disband before the 1988 season, but the franchise rights were bought by the Purefoods Corporation. Fernandez would become playing coach, his first coaching stint, of a young team composed of Jerry Codiñera, Jojo Lastimosa, Al Solís, Glen Capacio and later Alvin Patrimonio. In the 1988 Open Conference, he led his new team to a runner-up finish to San Miguel Beer. However, midway through the All-Filipino Conference, he would relinquish his coaching duties to his assistant, Cris Calilan, to concentrate on his game. But in a controversial move, Fernandez was benched during the Finals against Añejo Rhum. The said event led to his transfer to San Miguel Beer in exchange for, the second time, Abet Guidaben. Fernandez would later lead the Beermen to the 1988 Reinforced Conference Championship and also won his fourth MVP Award, becoming the first and the only player to win four MVP awards with four different teams.

Fernandez was a member of San Miguel's historic grandslam in 1989 while making amends with rival Jaworski during the 1989 All-Star Game, when El Presidente scored an undergoal stab off a Jaworski inbound pass at halfcourt, to lead the Veterans to a 132-130 win over the Rookie-Sophomores team. Legendary coach Baby Dalupan, then coaching the Veterans, summoned both players to a historic handshake at centercourt signaling the end of their bitter feud.

In 1990, Fernandez was a member of the Philippine basketball team that won a silver medal in the Beijing Asian Games. El Presidente was supposed to participate in the 1994 Asian Games team, but begged off due to an injury. That year also saw the final season of Fernandez's PBA career when he announced his retirement.

He was the first four-time MVP of the league, winning it in even numbered years during the 1980s—1982, 1984, 1986, and 1988. Considered as the best center to have come out of the PBA, he can however play all five positions on the court with uncanny ability. His trademark one-handed running jumper dubbed the "elegant shot" was his most potent offensive weapon. In 1984, he came awfully close to averaging in triple-double the whole season, being only five assists shy from achieving the feat. He ended his PBA career as the all-time leader in most points scored with 18,996, number two behind Jaworski in assists with 5,220, number one in defensive rebounds with 6,435, number two in offensive rebounds behind Guidaben with 2,217, number one in overall rebounds with 8,652, number one in minutes played with 36624:30, number 2 in games played behind Guidaben, number one in blocks with 1,853, and, only since February 5, 2007, number two behind Johnny Abarrientos in steals with 1,302 (He retired number one in steals in 1994). He ended with career averages of 17.7 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game, 4.9 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, and 1.7 blocks per game in 1,074 games.

Retirement

After his playing career, Fernandez ran for a senatorial seat under the Nationalist People's Coalition in the 1995 elections but lost. In 1998, he became the first commissioner of the defunct professional league, Metropolitan Basketball Association.

In 2000, he was included in the PBA's 25 Greatest Players' list and was awarded during the league's anniversary on April 9, 2000.

In 2003, Fernandez was named the Commissioner of the Collegiate Champions League tournament. A few months earlier, Fernandez was part of the Toyota Tamaraws in the Crispa-Toyota Reunion Game. The highlight of the event was the kickout pass of Fernandez to Jaworski, who sank a three-pointer to seal the Tamaraws' 65-61 win over their bitter rivals, the Redmanizers.

He also became the Commissioner of the now-inactive United Regional Basketball League during its only run in 2004.

Fernandez was also inducted in the PBA Hall of Fame and participated in the Greatest Game, a reunion of several members of the league's 25 Greatest Players, on May 30, 2005 when they lost to the TM Greats team 96-92.

Legacy

Medal record
Men’s Basketball
Competitor for  Philippines
FIBA Asia Championship
Gold 1973 Manila Team competition
Asian Games
Silver 1990 Beijing Team competition

Fernandez is remembered as one of the most popular players during the PBA's golden years and is also one of the most prominent faces in Philippine basketball, even to this day.

Fernandez could actually play all five positions on the basketball court as he mastered every skill needed in the point guard, off-guard, forward, power-forward and center slots. He is known for his dribbling skills (unusual for a center during his era), uncanny passing ability, perimeter jumpers, and unstoppable high or low post moves. In an open court game, it was not unusual to see him collar a rebound then dribble down the full length of the court and finish off the break with a lay-up down the middle or a fancy pass to a streaking teammate on the wings. The fact that he could dribble the ball so well came about as a result of him playing pointguard in high school when he was still too short to play the center slot. He is also well known for his trademark one handed running shot dubbed as "the elegant shot.". He could play facing the basket or with his back to it. One major distinguishing aspect of his game and which, amongst other exploits, showed a level of skill unmatched in Philippine basketball before or since, was his ability to drive towards the basket at will during a half-court game. This was remarkable because centers and power-forwards in his era usually played near or underneath the basket.

Fernandez is perhaps the most ambidextrous player to have played the game since Carlos Loyzaga a generation before him. Almost always, whenever he led a fastbreak (after getting the defensive rebound), he was like a maestro conducting an orchestra with the ability to hit the open man on either wing or finish a lay-up with either hand. A lot of times he would switch the ball from right hand to left hand and draw a foul for a three point play. One of his more famous moves was driving down the middle of the lane, fake a right-handed shot and then, at the very last second when the defender has committed himself, switch the ball to his left hand for an up-and-under scoop shot that almost always drew a foul. He had an ambidextrous hook shot that was almost impossible to stop and a weird looking variation of a lay-up that was executed while "fading away" from the basket which made it equally indefensible. His "elegant shot" often came after a right-handed cross-over dribble and moving away from a defender. His pivot moves, pump fakes, and trick shots from under the basket that he executed to flawless perfection even before Kevin McHale wrote his NBA playbook are legendary. He owned what was perhaps the craziest no-look pass that was executed on Philippine hardwood because it came about as a fake behind-the-back pass going to one direction only to go the opposite direction at the precise moment when the recipient is ready to receive the pass. His pinpoint passing ability was so devastating to opponents because he could execute them with either hand as well. It didn't matter to Fernandez whether he was hitting the open man through a crowd of defenders or hitting the same open man via a Hail Mary pass from outside the backcourt. Philip Cezar and Abe King, two premier defenders of local players and imports alike, in television interviews, always said that Fernandez was the toughest assignment they ever had to handle.

His MVP-stats in the 1984 season of the PBA, where he averaged in double figures in almost all of the major statistical categories (points, rebounds, assists), turning in an incredible 27 point-15 rebound-9.9 assist performance (an almost a triple-double season), may never be matched as it stands as perhaps the most dominating individual performance in the history of Philippine professional basketball.

Career highlights

PBA career

  • 4-time Most Valuable Player (1982, 1984, 1986, 1988)
  • PBA Hall of Fame
  • Member of the 1989 San Miguel Grand Slam Team
  • 13-time Mythical First Team Selection (1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992)
  • 3-time Mythical Second Team Selection (1985, 1987, and 1990)
  • 4-time PBA All-Star
  • PBA's 25 Greatest Players
  • PBA Hall of Fame Class of 2005

Others

  • Member, 1972 Asian Youth, Manila, Philippines
  • Member, 1973 Asian Basketball Confederation, Manila. (ABC-NOW FIBA ASIA)
  • Member, 1974 Mundo Basket, San Juan, Puerto Rico(World Basketball Championship)
  • Member, 1974 Asian Games, Tehran, Iran
  • Member, 1990 Asian Games, Beijing, China
  • 1994 Asian Games Assistant Coach
  • Metropolitan Basketball Association Commissioner 1998-1999

Trivia

  • A Ramon Fernandez-Abet Guidaben trade was executed twice. In 1985, Manila Beer swapped Fernandez to Tanduay for former Crispa rival Guidaben. In 1988, after a controversial shelving of Fernandez during the 1988 All-Filipino championship series led to Purefoods dealing the then-three time MVP to San Miguel for Guidaben, the reigning 1987 PBA MVP. It was speculated that there was an unwritten rule in the PBA that Fernandez and Guidaben could only be traded for each other.
  • Fernandez won his four MVPs through four different teams Toyota, Beer Hausen, Tanduay, and San Miguel Beer and all in even-numbered years (1982, 1984, 1986, and 1988). On the other hand, rival Guidaben won the MVP award twice in odd-numbered years (1983 and 1987). Had the 1985 last conference swap between Fernandez and Guidaben did not materialize, Guidaben would have been the MVP also in 1985.
  • Fernandez has led the teams he has played in a PBA championship series. He won nine titles with Toyota, led Beer Hausen to a title-series loss to Great Taste in 1984, led Tanduay to three PBA titles, led Purefoods to the finals in 1988 (played Game 1 after which he was barred from playing the rest of the series), and won seven titles with San Miguel.
  • Outside of basketball, Fernandez also held a barangay seat at Ayala Alabang Village.
  • He ran for Senator under the Nationalist People's Coalition in the 1995 senatorial elections, but lost.

References

External links

Preceded by
Bogs Adornado
PBA Most Valuable Player
1982
Succeeded by
Abet Guidaben
Preceded by
Abet Guidaben
PBA Most Valuable Player
1984
Succeeded by
Ricardo Brown
Preceded by
Ricardo Brown
PBA Most Valuable Player
1986
Succeeded by
Abet Guidaben
Preceded by
Abet Guidaben
PBA Most Valuable Player
1988
Succeeded by
Benjie Paras
Preceded by
First
Purefoods head coach
1988
Succeeded by
Cris Calilan
Preceded by
First
Metropolitan Basketball Association Commissioner
1998-1999
Succeeded by
Ogie Narvasa

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