Year 1995. The same season when the PBA celebrated its 20th anniversary was also the change of times in the era of the San Miguel Beermen.
Ramon Fernandez, the PBA’s first four-time Most Valuable Player, decided to retire after 20 years of playing in Asia’s pioneering professional basketball league.
It was also the year when Hector Calma, "the Director", and one of the finest point guards the league has ever produced, decided to hang his jersey while playing for the winningest team in PBA history.
The loss of Fernandez and Calma signaled a new era for the injury-riddled Beermen, who just a season prior, won the All-Filipino Conference and earned the right to represent the country at the Hirsohima Asian Games.
Following the retirement of 2 of its all-time greatest players, San Miguel started to rebuild and in that season, the team engineered a trade to get Vic Pablo from Pepsi in a trade with Kevin Ramas. The team also selected 6-foot-6 center Bryant Punzalan.
The Beermen were able to get decent reinforcements playing in import-laden conferences. They were able to get John Best for the Commissioner’s Cup, but he could only bring the Beermen as far as the quarterfinal round. In the season-ending Governors Cup, they were able to bring in Kenny Travis, who carried the team as far as the championship round but lost to the Alaska Milkmen in seven games.
But while the season was one among the title-less campaigns of the Beermen, one player was able to achieve a milestone for the squad and on this day, July 2, 1995, "the Triggerman" Allan Caidic, who was 32 at the time, accomplished a feat no other player was able to do during that time.
Caidic, the 1990 Most Valuable Player and record holder for most points scored in a single game with 79 points and most number of three-point shots with 17 in one game, set another feat by becoming the first player to hit 1,000 three-point shots.
Only 8 players in PBA history have reached the 1,000 3-point shots plateau.
Feared by many not just in the PBA, but also in the Asian basketball circuit throughout his playing career, Caidic was joined in the list by Al Solis, Ronnie Magsanoc, Dondon Hontiveros, James Yap, Jimmy Alapag, Arwind Santos and LA Tenorio.
For many years, Caidic’s record of 1,242 three-point shots stood out as the all-time best in the PBA until "The Mighty Mouse" Alapag came out of retirement to play for the Meralco Bolts in 2016 and surpassed the league’s Hall of Famer’s record in the all-time list.
To date, Alapag holds the record for most treys (1,250) followed by Caidic (1,242). Yap and Magsanoc are tied at No.3 with 1,171. Hontiveros is at No. 4 with 1,133 while Santos had 1,064 at No. 5, LA Tenorio at No. 6 with 1,049 and Al Solis at No. 7 with 1,000.
But Caidic is regarded as the finest among these marksmen and Norman Black, a PBA grand slam coach, was fortunate to handle the lefty dead shot from University of the East.
“It was a pleasure to have coached and won championships with 'The Triggerman',” wrote Black in a text message to ABS-CBN News. “He was probably the best scorer in the history of the PBA, who could post up as well. He was a great teammate and is a great person.”
Curiously, Black was fortunate to coach not just one but two players who were on the all-time list of 3-point shots made as he also handled Alapag, who became his player with the Bolts when the dead shot guard surpassed Caidic in the all-time list.
Rey Joble is a sports journalist who has been covering the PBA since 1998, and followed the league as a fan way before that.
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