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Who Is The LeBron James Of The Philippines?

Checking out versatility, dominance, popularity, basketball IQ and longevity.
Art by Macky Arquilla

Lebron James becoming the all-time leading scorer in NBA history is just the icing of the cake to an illustrious, once-in-a-generation career. And he’s still going strong.

We can argue for days about who the GOAT is, the conversation being an inherently subjective matter—but there’s little debate about who the greatest all-around player in NBA history is. It’s the kid from Akron, Ohio, the self-anointed “chosen one,” the 20-year veteran. LeBron James can score, pass like Magic Johnson, and rebounds and electrifies like few others can (and could). In light of King James’ momentous scoring achievement, we couldn’t help but wonder: who is the LeBron equivalent of the PBA? So we decided to round six guys up, both active and retired, who have on-court traits that resemble the King.

For this list, we considered several factors that define LeBron’s game: versatility, dominance, popularity, basketball IQ and longevity. 

Let’s get to it. 

June Mar Fajardo 

Age: 33

First year in the PBA: 2012

The first name that comes to mind when we think LeBron James of the Philippines is June Mar Fajardo. Like Lebron, Fajardo is still actively playing—and at a high level—yet is already considered one of the all-time greats. He is LeBron’s equal in terms of physical stature, standing at a commanding 6 ’10, 250 lbs. Though he isn’t the passer LeBron is, Fajardo is a dominant force, having consistently averaged a double-double for the entirety of his career (points and rebounds). Like LeBron, he also has four Finals MVPs and six league MVP awards. At the modest age of 33, he still has at least five more years playing at a high level. When it’s all said and done, Fajardo may well be considered the GOAT of Philippine basketball. Only time will tell. 

Ramon Fernandez 

Age: 69

First year in the PBA: 1975

Another obvious candidate for James LeBron of the Philippines is the legendary Ramon Fernandez. Fernandez, much like LeBron, is the all-time leading scorer (of the PBA), having played a remarkable 19 years professionally. He also was an awesome passer, racking up 5,220 assists in his storied career, good for second on the all-time list. Also like King James, Fernandez has four league MVPs under his belt. He finally retired in 1994 after almost two decades and just nine years before LeBron made his own debut with the Cavs. 

Robert Jaworski 

Age: 76

First year in the PBA: 1975

Perhaps the most notable quality in Robert Jaworksi’s historic professional basketball career is his amazing longevity: 23 seasons in the PBA. He’s a top 10 scorer all time and first in dishes, with a whopping 5,825 in his career. He’s still one of the most famous names in the history of Philippine basketball. His ability to score and distribute at will, his durability, popularity and intelligence on the court (he was even a player coach for years) remind us an awful lot of the King from Akron, Ohio. 

Alvin Patrimonio 

Age: 56

First year in the PBA: 1988

The Captain was one of the most popular players in his day and for good reason. In an impressive 18-year career, Patrimonio was a household name, constantly racking up championships, MVP awards, scoring titles, and many more. The Purefoods legend was the face of the league for a long time and has the accolades to prove it: four league MVPs, 15,000 points, six championships…the list goes on.

Calvin Abueva 

Age: 35

First year in the PBA: 2012

Arguably the most complete player in the PBA today, Abueva is an efficient scorer, ball handler, and defensive presence averaging over a block and a steal per game. The Angeles native is also one of the most popular basketball players in recent PBA history. He shoots the three ball at a high clip as well. A seven-time All-Star, Abueva’s all-around presence is often evocative of LeBron James’ skill set. 

Robert Bolick

Age: 27

First year in the PBA: 2018

At 27, Robert Bolick is the youngest player on the list, but he has displayed on-court poise and versatility sometimes reminiscent of LeBron James. Bolick is known for his playmaking ability and prowess and efficiency on offense. He’s an intelligent player with an ability to read the defense and make the right pass. He regularly puts up import-like numbers and has led the league in both scoring and assists—a unique combination quite similar to the King.  

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Ramil Cortez
Ramil Cortez
1 year ago

Marami kulang. Ano basihan sa pagpili. Isali Ang behavior Ng player. Malaking factor din Yan kc nakaapikto yan sa laro at sa manners Ng manonood.

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