IF I were a PBA coach on the opposite end of the court, the last sight in the world I would want to see is Allan Caidic handling the ball with the game on the line.
You imagine this is what all the legendary PBA coaches must have felt back in the early 90s.
It’s like watching Manny Pacquiao getting ready for a knockout punch. It's like seeing Efren “Bata” Reyes flashIng a toothless smile just before hitting another magical shot.
It's the feeling the Chinese rivals of Rio Olympian Hidilyn Diaz must have had when the announcer called her number to perform.
Caidic, after all, was undoubtedly the PBA’s one and only “Triggerman'."
And to this day, we hold Caidic, who turned 57 on June 15, to a higher standard in local basketball.
Sportswriters who have covered him from his early days in college at the University of the East up to his retirement with Baranhay Ginebra still consider him as the greatest shooter the country has ever produced.
Local basketball is filled with storybook heroes enough to provide inspiration to generations of future stars.
Alvin “The Captain” Patrimonio provided many unforgettable moments on the hardcourt with his all-around brilliance, Samboy “Skywalker” Lim electrified the crowd with his gravity-defying moves, Jerry “Defense Minister” Codinera earned a lot of respect with his defensive prowess, Pido “Fireman” Jarencio drew attention with his never-say die fighting spirit, Vergel “Aerial Voyager” Meneses earned raves with his shot-making skills, Benjie “Tower of Power” made unbelievers believe his brute strength, Hector “The Director” Calma impressed with his court knowledge and Paul “Mr. Excitement” Alvarez provided the ohhs and ahhs with his twisting, acrobatic layups.
Caidic is very clearly one of them.
He belonged to this rare breed of players who lit up Philippine basketball in the roaring 80s and 90s like fireworks on New Year's eve.
The 6-2 pride of Paete, Laguna remains as one of the most recognizable Local players long after his retirement in 1999.
His jersey number 8 was retired twice by two of his PBA teams -- San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra -- in honor of his legacy in Asia's first play-pay league.
When he retired as the playing coach of Ginebra, Caidic had 11, 719 points, 1,662 rebounds, 1,553 assists, and 509 steals in 598 games and 17, 620 minutes of playing time.
Caidic also holds the all-time single-game individual score of 79 points in Presto Tivoli's game against Ginebra on Nov. 21, 1991 -- the birthday of his eldest daughter Mariel.
The former University of the East Warrior also set the most points in a single half (53 points), the most points in a single quarter (37 points), the most three-point field goals made and attempts in a game (17/27 triples), the most three-point field goals made in a quarter (8 triples) and the most consecutive three-point field goals made in a single game (8 triples).
“Nakatutuwa nga na ang dami pa ding nakaka-alala nun (scoring record) hanggang ngayon,” said Caidic, who eclipsed the previous individual record of 71 points made by Alvarez a year earlier in 1990.
Caidic admiited his personal-high individual record could be surpassed someday.
“Records are meant to be broken. Hindi natin masabi. Malay mo may isang player na uminit tapos bigyan ng bigyan ng bola. Pwedeng mngyari,” admitted Caidic.
His basketball legacy include:
-- PBA Hall of Fame (2009)
-- PBA Top 25 Greatest Players of all time (2000)
-- PBA Most Valuable Player (1990)
-- PBA Rookie of the Year (1987)
-- PBA Mythical First Team Selection (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1995).
-- PBA Mythical Second Team Selection (1993 and 1994).
-- PBA Best Player of the Conference (1995 PBA Governor's Cup)
-- PBA All-Star Games (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995)
-- PBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player (1993)
-- PBA All-Star Three-Points Shootout Challenge champion (individual event) 1991 and 1992
-- PBA All-Star Three-Points Shootout Challenge champion (team event) 1991
-- PBA Career Achievement Award 10,000 Points, 5,000 Points, 1,000 Three-Points and 500 Steals.
As a young basketball fan, maybe you didn't see Caidic play the game.
Maybe you didn’t see him score the most points in a game. Maybe you didn't see him hit the game-winner with the shot clock running out.
Maybe you didn't see him make the big difference.
But yes, my dear, the PBA was blessed to have a “Triggerman” And it's his birthday on June 15. Happy birthday, Allan.
NOTES -- Condolences to the family of BEST Center founder and coach Nic Jorge, who passed away last Saturday.
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