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Coaches' First Five: Brown, Co, Adornado among Dalupan's all-time starters

Baby Dalupan coached Ricardo Brown for five seasons with Great Taste, winning five championships. Ricardo Brown

There are several multi-titled coaches in the PBA, such as Leo Austria, Norman Black, Tim Cone, Baby Dalupan, Yeng Guiao, Chot Reyes and Jong Uichico. In this series, we identify the all-time starting five of these seven coaches, choosing from all the players each one has ever coached.

With 52 championships as a head coach, including 15 in the PBA, the Maestro has been the benchmark of mentors in the league's 45-year existence. Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan appeared to have the golden touch as all the teams he handled in his 16-year pro career won a title, and the Coach of the Year award was named after him in 1995.

Along the way, Dalupan also had the good fortune of coaching some of the most elite players in PBA history. Here's a list of the best at each position (plus a sixth man) that would arguably be his all-time First Five.

Point guard - 1985 Ricardo Brown (MVP)

Brown electrified audiences with his speed, quickness and knack for scoring in bunches since he was signed by the Great Taste Coffee Makers in 1983. He immediately meshed into Dalupan's fast-paced system and was named the league's Rookie of the Year in Dalupan's first year at the helm. Brown registered his career-high of 56 points during Dalupan's first year with the CFC franchise and averaged close to 30 points per game (ppg) with double figures in assists for Great Taste until he departed the team at the end of the 1987 season. "The Quick Brown Fox" still holds the PBA record for highest scoring average for a career with 23.1 ppg and was named to the PBA Hall of Fame in 2009.

Shooting guard - 1979 Fortunato Co, Jr. (MVP)

The 6'2" sniper out of Mapua was one of the deadliest scorers in league history and was the first member of the 5,000 and 10,000 points club of the league. Co was credited for almost singlehandedly helping the Crispa Redmanizers out of an 0-2 hole in the 1976 All-Philippine championship when he normed a staggering 34.1 ppg in the Finals to help his squad win the first ever PBA Grand Slam and averaged close to 30 ppg in 1979 en route to his first and only MVP award. Co played for Dalupan twice starting with Crispa from 1975-1984 and later with Great Taste/Presto Ice Cream in 1987-1988 where he eventually helped mentor eventual MVP Allan Caidic. Despite retiring 31 years ago, Co is still in the top ten in the all-time scoring list and is considered Dalupan's best all-around scoring threat.

Small forward - 1975 William Adornado (MVP)

Adornado was a five-time scoring champion and was among the most feared offensive guns who made the transition from the old MICAA to the PBA. A national team icon who saw action in the 1972 Munich Olympics and averaged 18.0 ppg in the 1974 World Championship in Puerto Rico, Adornado won the first two MVP awards of the PBA, but it was his merciless firepower that led the Crispa offense in the maiden season of the league. Even Co explained that Adornado was always the first option on offense in 1975 and that he and his teammates would just begin to contribute once the 6'1" gunner got fatigued. Adornado was such a reliable scorer that he was the first player to reach 2,000 points, doing so in the very first season of league. A knee injury would later stymie his ascent, but he was Dalupan's ace in 1975 where he averaged over 24 points per game.

Power forward - 1980 Philip Cezar (MVP)

Listed at 6'3", Cezar's long arms and ability to play rugged defense and with finesse on offense endeared him to Crispa fans and to Dalupan, who used his prized catch from Jose Rizal College to the hilt during his run with the Redmanizers. Cezar was Dalupan's ground-stopper as his length allowed him to tap opposing drives from off the ball and go up to swat away would-be inside incursions, earning him the moniker of Tapal King. His astute orientation on the offensive end garnered him the title of The Scholar as he would have a keen take on would-be defenders and had the passing skills that dumbfounded the opposition. During his MVP campaign (which he fiercely competed for against Co and Robert Jaworski), Cezar added the three-point shot to his vast arsenal, making him perhaps the best all-around forward in PBA history.

Center - 1982 Alberto Guidaben

This 6'5" Camiguin native was actually a late-bloomer on the talent-laden Redmanizers squad who was initially in charge of rebounding and rim protection. Towards the tail-end of the 1970s, Guidaben stepped up and began engaging rival pivot Ramon Fernandez of Toyota in a tug-of-war for the MVP trophy (during a seven-year stretch starting in 1982, Guidaben and Fernandez made the MVP award their private playground, with only Brown breaking through in 1985). His 1982 campaign was perhaps his finest under Dalupan as he led the Redmanizers in rebounding and solidified the interior. Guidaben had finally begun emerging from the shadows of his speedier compatriots and would cap his climb by winning the first of his two MVP titles the following year-under Tommy Manotoc and during Crispa's second PBA Grand Slam.

Sixth Man - 1977 Alfredo Hubalde (MVP)

Starting his PBA career as Adornado's prime back-up in 1975, Hubalde benefited the most from Adornado's 1976 injury as Dalupan thrust him into the starting unit. He would also usually guard the best offensive player of the opposing team. On offense, his acrobatic drives to the hoop punctuated by contorting layups (later called the "dukot" shot as it appeared he was shooting under everyone's armpits) had this shifty swingman introducing a new dimension to Dalupan's attack. Hubalde became the first MVP not to lead the league in scoring and joined Jaworski among the first elite two-way players in the PBA.