The last time a PBA team defended its title in an all-Filipino conference, Chot Reyes was still a star basketball player.
In 1985, Reyes was in his last season with the Ateneo Blue Eagles. A crack guard, he was named to the league’s mythical five that consisted of future household names Jerry Codinera and Allan Caidic of University of the East, Glenn Capacio of Far Eastern University, and Pido Jarencio of University of Santo Tomas.
“I was the only one who didn’t make the PBA. All these guys became stars,” said Reyes.
But 27 years later, his star shines just as bright as his contemporaries. He made a splash in his first conference with Purefoods in 1993, becoming the youngest coach at 29 years old to win a PBA title.
After leading Talk ‘N Text’s successful defense of the Philippine Cup Sunday, he now has five all-Filipino titles, trailing only the legendary Baby Dalupan, who has six. With his eighth PBA championship, Reyes also tied Jong Uichico for fourth in the all-time list.
The back-to-back titles in the Philippine Cup also serves as a balm for Reyes and the Tropang Texters, who fell a game short of winning the PBA’s triple crown last season. Talk ‘N Text became just the third franchise in PBA history, after Crispa and Great Taste, to successfully retain the all-Filipino crown.
“This one is a sweet redemption when we lost the Grand Slam last year,” he said.
“Back-to-back all-Filipino championships and it took 27 years before someone else did it, and we did it. This makes it a lot sweeter.”