This Day in PBA History: Willie Generelao bags novelty 1-on-1 tournament

Rey Joble

Posted at Nov 13 2021 10:02 PM | Updated as of Nov 16 2021 02:05 PM

For the most part of his career, Willie Generelao was known as the willy court general who played for teams such as Gilbey’s Gin, where he became rookie of the year in 1980; won championships with Tanduay and later on Presto; and was one of the few holdover veterans when Purefoods burst onto the scene in 1988.

But on this day in PBA history, November 13, 1982, Generelao displayed his individual skills when he won the PBA’s 1-on-1 tournament for 6 feet and below category.

Generelao turned back Frankie Lim, then playing for YCO-Tanduay, 13-10, after coming back from a 7-0 deficit, to win the event. Mon Fernandez of Toyota defeated Rey Lazaro of YCO-Tanduay in the unlimited category.

A four-time PBA champion, Generelao was among the underrated court generals in the PBA.

At a time when guard discussions are centered on Robert Jaworski, Bernie Fabiosa, Francis Arnaiz and Lim Eng Beng among others, Generelao was able to make his mark.

He was the starting point guard of Tanduay Rhum and his teammates could attest his valuable contributions inside the court.

“Si Willie Generelao, Malaki ang puso niyan para manalo,” said JB Yango, who played with Generelao in three championship runs with the Rhum Makers in 1986 and 1987.

Known as an enforcer when he entered the PBA, Onchie dela Cruz used to watch Generelao from the bench and learned a lot of things from this veteran guard.

“Si Willie tinitingnan ko habang nasa bench ako, siyempre siya starting point guard, pinanonood ko kugn ano ginagawa niya,” said Dela Cruz. “Malaking tulong. Malaking tulong yung mga nakikita ko sa mga beterano.”

“Kasi si Willie, kapag nalampasan mo sa likod yan, hahabulin ka niyan. Aagawan ka. Ang player kasi kapag nakalagpas na sa tao, wala silang iniisip kung may susundot pa sa likod. Si Willie ganun ang ginagawa. Tsaka napakagulang. Ang lakas manghawak.”

His last hurrah came in Game 7 of the 1990 All-Filipino championship where he played a pivotal role as one among those veterans who stepped up big to fill in the big void left by injured top gunner Allan Caidic as Presto Tivoli pulled off an upset win over the powerhouse Purefoods Hotdogs.

Generelao retired as seventh in the PBA all-time list in assists (3256) and 13th overall in the all-time steals with 639 in a career that lasted 11 years.