Sunkist had the “Aerial Voyager,” the “Destroyer,” the “Bicolano Superman,” “Captain Marbel,” “The Bull,” and Bonel Balingit. A lineup as stacked as this was bound for greatness–falling one conference short from the much-coveted grandslam.
Centers – Bonel Balingit, Zaldy Realubit, Alejandro Paguinto
Forwards – Vergel Meneses, Nelson Asaytono, Elpidio Villamin, Eric Reyes
Guards – Kenneth Duremdes, Emmanuel Victoria, Alfonso Solis, Ricardo Marata, Rudy Distrito (banned mid-season), Marcelino Albarillo
Before starring in the Pinoy classic Isprikitik: Walastik Kung Pumitik, the 6-foot-9 Gentle Giant was Sunkist’s reliable big man. He was the PBA’s Most Improved Player in 1995. More than 20 years later, he got himself a role in ABS-CBN’s Ang Probinsyano. Ye Ye Bonel!
Boybits ran and lost in the 2010 local elections, but he did find success as an assistant coach and radio analyst in the PBA. He also blocked Alvin Patrimonio (Top 5 play).
He spent one season as Adamson coach in the UAAP. Now 42, Duremdes looks like he hasn’t aged a bit.
After being snubbed twice (!) in the PBA’s Greatest Players list, “The Bull” had this to say: “That’s a lot of bull.” Classic.
The PBA’s MVP in 1995, Meneses made “nag-kape sa ere” an actual thing in the 90s. Mark Caguioa once called him the “Jordan of the Philippines.”