Coaches, former teammates remember bruising big man Dong Polistico

Rey Joble

Posted at Aug 12 2022 05:15 PM

There was a time when Dong Polistico was the tallest player in the PBA.

Standing 6-foot-7, he was selected fourth overall by Alaska in the 1988 Rookie Draft. He surpassed Romulo Mamaril, "The Human Beanpole," who holds such distinction while playing in his first eight years in the big league.

But for the coaches and the players who had the luxury of sharing a team with Polistico, they remember the quiet but bruising center for his contributions to the squad.

"He was one of my first players at Alaska and we used to play him as a twin tower with Alex Araneta," wrote Cone in a text message to ABS-CBN News. "He was very skilled back then and a bruiser. I think I coached him for three or four years, if I remember correctly."

Polistico was part of Alaska's first champion team in the 1991 Third Conference and Jojo Lastimosa, who became the new franchise player of the squad, didn't have difficulty with his working relationship with him.

"I remember Dong as a very quiet person. He played tough and physical, but very subdued off the court," added Lastimosa in a Viber message. "The only commonality we have is we both speak Bisaya, so it was easy relating with him."

That quiet and reserved personality was probably one of the reasons why the big man didn't have much close association with anyone, but he was relied upon by his teammates as his huge presence back then made Alaska a team to contend with.

"I can't remember him having a really close relationship with anyone. He was really reserved. That's how I perceived him, but to me, he was a reliable teammate and that didn't give coaches a hard time," added Lastimosa. 

When Polistico left Alaska, he moved on to play for San Miguel Beer. In the 1994 Hiroshima Asiad, he was included by head coach Norman Black to become a part of the Philippine team that was beefed up by the core of the Beermen, but were reinforced by additional players from the PBA -- Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codinera, and Rey Evangelista of Purefoods and Johnny Abarrientos -- and amateur standouts Kenneth Duremdes and Marlou Aquino. 

"The thing that stands out the most was the fact that he gave us size and strength in the lane. He was not a big scorer, but he kept his defense honest. He was a great teammate and a pleasure to coach because he had a good attitude," added Black.

Polistico passed away just recently due to heart attack. 

PBA Season 47 games can be streamed live and on-demand on iWantTFC with a Premium subscription, available worldwide except PH and US.

Related video:

Watch more News on iWantTFC