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Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Legend that is "The Triggerman"

Allan Caidic hopelessly guarded by Benjie Paras (courtesy of PBA.ph)
“Rare is the player who can frustrate him from burning the hoops because he needs only a little space to make a goal. He baffles his opponents with his quick reflexes.” 
~Jenny King, Great and Famous Filipinos, 2002

Last August 27, 2010, basketball fans in the Philippines saw the glimpse of the recent past of the world's two oldest professional leagues, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). The NBA Asia Challenge includes not just the legends of the recent past but it also includes current PBA and National Basketball Development League (NBDL) stars.

For two years, the NBA Asia Challenge served as the closest thing to Filipinos to watch a live NBA game. Of course, it is more of an entertainment showcase rather than competitive basketball. Ever since the deterioration of the quality of the game in the Philippines, so were the NBA delegations that arrive in the country. Gone are the days (1970s) when an NBA franchise or a competitive All-Star line-up turn up in Manila and play their PBA counterparts. These days, we only get to see "retired" NBA players while the active ones arrived individually only to sign autographs and promote whatever they came for in Manila.

Glen Rice and Allan Caidic (courtesy of PhilSTAR.com)
Anyway, one player that grabs the headlines of the NBA Asia Challenge for the last two years was the legendary Triggerman Allan Caidic. The Barangay Ginebra Kings assistant coach shoots the lights out of Araneta Coliseum and earned the respect of the NBA legends from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 2009 to Gary Payton/Glen Rice/Chris Webber this year.

Last year, he fired five consecutive triples in the first half to lead the PBA all-star selection with 15 points but loss the game to Dominique Wilkins-led NBA Generations team. This year, on the other hand, Caidic scored 54 points with 14 three points field goals made and led the Red Team (with Gary Payton, Glen Rice and Vergel Meneses) to 177-167 victory over a Chris Webber-led White Team (with Mitch Richmond, Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc and Alvin Patrimonio).

The 54-point performance and his 14 triples were 25 points and three triples short of the 20 years old all time records he set in the PBA. It also remind everyone, not just those present in Araneta, that the best shooter in the country are not James Yap or Ren-Ren Ritualo but the assistant coach of Barangay Ginebra Kings and 10 years retired Allan Caidic.

The scores (2010 NBA Asia Challenge):

RED 177 (coach: T. Cone)A. Caidic 54, Lazare 22, G. Rice 19, A. Santos 16, V. Meneses 16, R. Maierhofer 15, McCray 11, A. Co 10, L.A. Tenorio 7, G. Payton 7.

WHITE 167 (coach: S. Tanquingcen) — R. Frahm 24, C.Webber 24, Tyndale 22, D.  Hontiveros 20, V. Paras 18, R. Magsanoc 18, A. Patrimonio 16, M. Richmond 16, R. Tubid 13.

Quarters: 38-44; 92-94; 124-124; 177-167.

NBA legend Glen Rice and PBA legend Allan Caidic (courtesy of NBA.com)
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Since his playing records and achievements are pretty much all over the internet. Here are the Triggerman’s achievements after his self-enforced retirement in 1999 (Post-playing career):
  • PBL Top 20 Greatest Players
  • PBA Top 25 Greatest Players
  • Philippine National Team Assistant Coach (European Tour, Asian Games)
  • 2005 PBA Greatest Game (MVP), 30 points*
  • 2005 PBA Legends Tour of Australia (Series MVP), back-to-back 30 points* [video]
  • 2005 Southeast Asian Games Sports Ambassador
  • 2006 San Miguel All-Stars vs. USA Legends, 17 points*
  • 2008 Grand Reunion Tour of PBA Greats in California
  • 2008 PBA Legends vs. Philippine Army Basketball Team, 33 points*
  • 2009 PBA Legends Tour of North America
  • 2009 NBA Asia Challenge: NBA Generation vs. PBA All-Stars, 15 points* [video]
  • 2009 PBA Hall of Fame
  • 2010 NBA Asia Challenge: Red vs. White, 54 points/14 triples* [video]
  • Three time PBA champion (two as Team Manager and one as Assistant Coach)
* Lead his team in scoring

The 'irreplaceable' Triggerman: The greatest shooter Philippine basketball ever had (photo courtesy of Inquirer.net)

“I became a shooter when I was already in college. In elementary and high school, I used to play center. I practiced every day, taking as many as 200 three-point shots, to develop this skill. Maybe, I had an inborn touch. But without the long hours of practice, I wouldn’t have been able to develop my shooting.”  
~Allan Caidic

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