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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The "Philippine Dream Team" in the 1990 Asian Games

1990 RP Team during team practice
Today (October 6) is the 20th anniversary of the silver medal finished of the “Philippine Dream Team” in the 1990 Asian Games basketball tournament. The 1990 RP Team was the first ever Philippine Basketball Association (PBA)-backed national team and it may have been the first national team in the world composed of professional players.

The team was also the least-prepared and most successful PBA-backed national team in history. The team was loaded with future Hall-of-Famers and some members eventually selected to the PBA Top 25 Greatest Players Ever in 2000 (ten years later).

What makes this team different to the rest of the PBA-backed national teams was their two-week preparation and their silver medal finished. One of the reasons for the team reaching the finals was the inclusion of former NCC players (Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim, Hector Calma, and Yves Dignadice) and their subsequent national team successors (Alvin Patrimonio and Ronnie Magsanoc). Their recent experiences and familiarity to FIBA rules and international basketball helped the team’s performances in the Asian Games basketball tournament.

Filipino hotshot Allan Caidic, Asia's most feared shooter
The 1990 national squad was basically the PBA All-Stars with the likes of Ricky Brown (injury), Jerry Condiñera (due to personal health), Jojo Lastimosa, and Paul Alvarez missing out from the line up. In addition, the NCC trio (Caidic, Lim and Calma) were carrying injuries themselves when the tournament started.

The team’s performances in Beijing created some great and sad stories. The worst was the 65-points demolition of the Philippines by the host, China, 60-125. Anyway, in positive note, there was Chito Loyzaga playing the game of his lifetime (not really) in guarding North Korea’s 7’7 center Michael Ri. Then there was the injured (broken hand) Allan Caidic held scoreless in the first half of their second group game against Japan. The first half finished 29-43 to Japan but the injured Triggerman lead the Nationals in a come from behind win (86-78) by scoring 34 points in the second half.

The team's achievement will never be emulate nor surpass by any PBA-backed national teams. As long as commercial greediness and protectionist policies exist in the PBA bureaucracy, no future PBA-backed national team will ever surpass the Philippine Dream Team. Twenty years later since that silver medal finished, after three failed attempts in the Asian Games and two attempts in the Asian Championship, the league that claimed to be the oldest professional league in Asian basketball gave up for the sake of ticket sales.


Philippines’ Record in the Asian Games prior to 1990:
  • 1951: 1st place (gold)
  • 1954: 1st place (gold)
  • 1958: 1st place (gold)
  • 1962: 1st place (gold)
  • 1966: 6th place
  • 1970: 5th place
  • 1974: 4th place
  • 1978: 5th place
  • 1982: 4th place
  • 1986: 3rd place (bronze)
Members of the 1990 RP Team: Rey Cuenco, Zaldy Realubit, Ronnie Magsanoc, Benjie Paras, Samboy Lim, Alvin Patrimonio, and Allan Caidic

Here’s the 1990 RP Dream Team’s line-up:
  • Allan Caidic of (Presto)
  • Hector Calma of (San Miguel Beer)
  • Rey Cuenco of (Anejo Rhum)
  • Yves Dignadice of (San Miguel Beer)
  • Ramon Fernandez of (San Miguel Beer)
  • Dante Gonzalgo of (Anejo Rhum)
  • Samboy Lim of (San Miguel Beer)
  • Chito Loyzaga of (Anejo Rhum)
  • Ronnie Magsanoc of (Formula Shell)
  • Benjie Paras of (Formula Shell)
  • Alvin Patrimonio of (Purefoods)
  • Zaldy Realubit of (Presto)
Head Coach: Robert Jaworski
Assistant Coaches: Norman Black and Rino Salazar


Team’s Results in the 1990 Asian Games:

Samboy Lim, Philippines vs. Japan
Preliminary Round
  • vs. Pakistan 129-81 (September 26)
  • vs. Japan 86-78 (September 27)

Second Round
  • vs. North Korea 98-82 (September 30)
  • vs. China 60-125 (October 1)
  • vs. United Arab Emirates 80-75 (October 2)

Semifinals
  • vs. Japan 94-90 (October 4)

Finals
  • vs. China, 74-90 (October 6)
Allan Caidic and RP Team Head Coach Robert Jaworski in one of their after-game Press Conferences in Beijing, China
Achievements:
  • 1990 Asian Games silver medal
  • Allan Caidic - Asian Games All-Tournament Mythical Team
  • Samboy Lim - Asian Games All-Tournament Mythical Team

Philippines’ Record in the Asian Games from 1990:
  • 1990: 2nd place (silver)
  • 1994: 4th place
  • 1998: 3rd place (bronze)
  • 2002: 4th place
  • 2006: Did Not Participate (Suspended by FIBA)
  • 2010: 6th place

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