SPECIAL FEATURE

Alvin Patrimonio: From a chess player to basketball superstar

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Alvin Patrimonio
PHOTO FROM EDDIE ALINEA’S FILE

He loved chess and still does. Alvin Patrimonio, in fact, played the game that requires mental toughness while at the Manila Science High School.

Influenced by his father, the late Angel Patrimonio, a Jose Rizal College NCAA champion team stalwart during his playing days, and because of his height and built, Alvin was lured to playing basketball where he became as one of the greatest to have played the game this shore.

“I really love chess and intended to make the sport a career. “I also played basketball since I was 10 years old, pero mas gusto ko ang chess kasi mas nagagamit ang utak, “ Alvin told this writer in an interview at the height of his professional career that earned for him four PBA MVPs, among others.

“I wanted to emulate kasi my idols Bobby Fischer and, of course, our own Eugene Torre,” Patrimonio added. I wanted to become a National Master, International Master and Grand Master like them,” he said with a glitter in his eyes.


“At saka gusto kong talunin ang Lolo ko sa mother sa side ko. Lagi ko siyang kalaro halos araw-araw, pero hindi ko matalu-talo. Ang galing n’ya,” he said referring to Lolo Alberto (Vergara) father of his mother Ophelia.

And the rest is history, as they say.

Alvin Vergara Patrimonio, born November 17, 1966 in Manila, started his basketball career playing for the then Mapúa Institute of Technology in pursuit a degree in Civil Engineering and saw action for the MIT Cardinals from 1983 to 1986. He failed to win a championship for the Cardinals but instead gifted himself with the NCAA Most Valuable Player awards back-to-back in 1985 and 1986.

The matinee idol-looking, soft-spoken Patrimonio was a mainstay of the YCO Painters in the Philippine Basketball League (now the PBA D-League) before moving to RFM-Swifts the Elizalde franchise was disbanded after winning two championships in three conferences from 1986-87. Patrimonio had a two-conference stint with the Swift Hotdogs and won a title before joining the PBA in the middle of the 1988 season.

The 6-foot-3 power forward spent his entire 17-pro season with the Purefoods franchise and won five championships besides establishing several PBA records including most consecutive games played (596); third most points scored in history (15,091); fourth most rebounds in history (6,000 +) and four MVP awards in a tie with his idol Ramon Fernandez and June Mar Fajardo.

He, too, is the second player outside of Bogs Adornado to win back-to-back MVP awards he fashioned out in 1993 and 1994, the second player to win three Best Player of the Conference award after Vergel Meneses. He also shares the distinction of having played the most Asian Games (4) with 1990 PBA MVP Allan Caidic.

Before his no. 6 jersey was retired on the occasion of his 38th birthday in 2004, Alvin was a 10-time PBA Mythical First Team from 1989–1994, 1996–1998; Mythical Second Team in 1995; All-Star Game MVP (1991); 12-time All-Star (1989-1993, 1995-2001); PBA’s 25 Greatest Players; PBA’s 40 Greatest Players.

Patrimonio was, too, a member of the 1990 Robert Jaworski-coached all-PBA national Asian Games five that won the silver medal for the first time since the Philippines lost the Asiad title in 1966.

In the 1998 Asian Games, he was part of an all-PBA Philippine national team also known as the Philippine Centennial Team. The team was coached by Tim Cone. That team also won the 1998 William Jones Cup after beating Chinese Taipei in the championship game, 82-72.

After only three year in the pro-ranks, Patrimonio signed a mega-buck five-year 25.3- million-peso deal (roughly P500,000 a month) with Purefoods making him the highest paid ever player in Philippine basketball’s history.

Patrimonio was inducted to the PBA Hall of Fame in 2011. Other honorees for the class of 2011 were Billy Ray Bates, Freddie Hubalde, Tommy Manotoc, Mariano Yenko, Tito Eduque and Bobong Velez. They were the fourth group of individuals that was honored by the league.

Parimonio has three children with wife Cindy— Angelo, Christine and Clarice and one adopted child Asher Angel. Christine and Clarice followed in their father’s athletic career both being topnotch tennis players.

 

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