3 Dream League MVPs on the same Philippines team: Urbiztondo, Reyes, Pacana

Josh Urbiztondo (click for Facebook page).

Josh Urbiztondo

I actually have to give credit to Dream League friend Dan Rosen, who writes for SLAMonline (e.g., insider article on Kevin Garnett’s knee). He sent me an email the other day about the player in the Philippines Basketball Association (PBA) who punched a fan and was subsequently suspended for the entire season — and the season just started!

Of course, a quick Google on Josh Urbiztondo is always a required exercise everytime I get the occasional news tip on the PBA. After all, he did help my Dream League Bay Area select team win the 2008 Gotham Games tourney in NYC. The tournament was held by Dream League New York and they named Urbiztondo tournament MVP. It was an amazing experience (good and bad!) coaching him.

To my amazement, a quick look at Urbiztondo’s PBA team roster, the Santa Lucia Realtors, revealed that former #3 PBA draft pick Ryan Reyes is on his team too! Why am I amazed? Well, because Reyes was also a one-time Dream League tournament MVP (unfortunately, not for my team!). Specifically, Reyes was the MVP of the 2006 Asian American National Championship held annually in Las Vegas.

But that’s not all!

I easily could’ve missed this, but buried down at uniform #22 on the Realtors’ roster is Chris Pacana! Who’s that? Well, the co-MVP of our 2004 Summer Vegas Tournament, of course! [Note: Our Asian American National Championship didn’t happen until 2005.]

I’m so happy I had the time back in the day to write those reports on the Vegas tourney. Props to the DLNY crew for the write-up on Urbiztondo. So, you think you got what it takes to make basketball your profession? Try this on for size…

  • Pacana: 34 pts, 9 reb, 4 stl in a 6-point championship loss, playing on a scrap team that doesn’t normally organize for tournaments, against the legendary Filpino Bay Area Heads hoop tourney squad.
  • Reyes: 18 pts, 10 reb in a 9-point championship shutdown of legendary Filipino tournament squad, the Stockton Ballers.
  • Urbiztondo: 32 pts in a 7-point championship win over the stacked Dream League New York all-star squad, which has been doing some damage out East in 2008-09.

I remember Pacana being about 6′1″, maybe 6′2″ or barely 6′3″ with shoes (he’s listed at 6′1″), and having sick handles. He was a smooth handler, less of an AI-like lateral juke and more like the MJ dip-your-shoulder-and-bye-bye drive. He was left-handed. His outside shot was a little suspect, but man, those moves to the hoop. Pretty.

Reyes was like Billups, but not as buffed (not many people are as buffed as Chauncey, though). Just an incredibly strong guard, tall. Strong bones. He’s 6′2″ and can be listed at 6′3″ (with shoes), which by Asianballer standards, is a big ballhandler. A very deliberate style of play. Nothing terribly fancy, but just very composed, didn’t lose the ball, the kind of guy you just don’t worry about. Very fundamental and athletic, yet not that flashy. Hard to describe.

Conversely, Urbiztondo’s like a flash of lightning. He’s only about 5′9″ although the Sta Lucia roster ridiculously lists him at 6′1″. His heart must beat like a hummingbird. I mean, you just will…not…catch…him. NBA speed. I mean, if he had a bigger frame, holy smokes, he’d be playing in the NBA, I kid you not. Urbiztondo’s outside touch isn’t the prettiest, but it’s getting better and the thing is, he can set up his set shot because he’s got more gears than you. A truly special player in that I can’t even make any NBA comparisons!

It’s really weird. It’s as if the GM of Sta Lucia came and saw all three tournament runs. On one side of the spectrum, you have lightning in a bottle with Urbiztondo. On the other end you have the no-nonsense Reyes. And in between you have the guy who can weave a thread through the defense in Pacana.

Oddly, I’d put them all at point guard as well. To point out the obvious, you could build three different Asian tourney teams around these guys.

I’d pay money to watch them go at it in Sta Lucia practice scrimmages.

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