Back when high-scoring games were the norm in the PBA, one of the players who stood out and showed his scoring prowess was 3-time Most Valuable Player William “Bogs” Adornado.
Adornado just completed his comeback trail in 1981, when he emerged as the first 3-time Most Valuable Player winner.
Many basketball purists had written him off after suffering an ACL tear. Back then, this knee injury was considered the end of one's career, but he proved to all and sundry his determination to come back and remain one of the PBA’s all-time greatest players.
One of his better games happened in Game 5 of the 1979 All-Filipino championship series between archrivals Crispa and Toyota in a game where he was designated by legendary Redmanizers coach Baby Dalupan to play point guard.
Adornado, then on his way to recovery, pumped in 20 points in what was easily his best performance after coming back from an injury.
When Adornado got traded to U/Tex in the elimination round of the 1980 Open Conference, the sweet-shooting forward assumed his role as his new team’s top gun and in his first conference as a member of the Wranglers, he helped his team to a dramatic Game 5 overtime victory over Toyota after battling back from four points down in the last 16 seconds of regulation.
“I wanted to regain my old form,” Adornado said. “Dapat maghanap ka ng team to regain ’yung form mo. Less minutes na talaga ako noon sa Crispa, so I transferred to U/Tex. It was (coach) Tommy Manotoc who arranged my transfer from Crispa to U/Tex.”
“Ang daming magagaling na players sa Crispa, mahihirapan kang makabalik (old form).”
But Adornado, who led the scoring averages for 5 seasons in his career, including in 1980, displayed his scoring prowess on this day, November 23, 41 years ago, when he tied Danny Florencio for the most points scored by a local player at that time.
He scored 64 points during U/Tex’s 126-111 victory over San Miguel Beer.
For Adornado, the 1980 season gave him a new lease in life.
“I would say it was the turning point of my career,” added Adornado. “I worked so hard to regain my old form. “
“In fact, after winning the championship, I enrolled sa gym, and told myself, ‘Kaya ko siguro makuha ’yung MVP ulit.’ Kasi, nu’ng nag-MVP si Philip Cezar noong 1980, I was the first runner-up. Na-include ako sa Mythical 5. I was feeling well from my knee injury, almost 100 percent na ako.”
Adornado did just that as he claimed the MVP award in 1981. His remarkable comeback from a career-threatening injury also earned recognition from the PBA Press Corps as the group named the Comeback Player of the Year award after him.
From 1980 to 1983, Adornado led the league in 2-point field-goal percentage.
Rey Joble is a sports journalist who has been covering the PBA since 1998, and followed the league as a fan way before that.