Sta. Lucia Realty

On: 09 August 2007

Prior to the start of the 1993 season, Caidic moved to San Miguel Beer, leaving the Realtors with a few holdovers from the old Presto lineup including Vergel Meneses, Bong Hawkins (later traded to Swift and Alaska, respectively) and Gerry Esplana.

But, Sta. Lucia had the top pick in the draft and selected amateur star Zandro "Jun" Limpot of De La Salle University-Manila. With Limpot carrying the new Sta. Lucia team for the 1993 season, the Realtors managed to surprise everyone with a semi-finals appearance that led to a fourth place finish in the All-Filipino Conference. Limpot was named as the Rookie of the Year after the season.

One of Sta. Lucia's first imports was Lambert Shell, who played during the Commissioner's Cup. The team's head coach during its first few years was former PBA coach Nat Canson.

In 1994, Sta. Lucia selected University of Santo Tomas star Dennis Espino as their first round draft pick. But his PBA debut was further delayed after suffering a nose injury during an exhibition game held in the Middle East.

Filipino-American Chris Jackson and veteran shooter Romy dela Rosa later joined team to form a solid squad to complement Limpot and Espino.

Espino managed to return Sta. Lucia late in the season and the Realtors cop a third place trophy in the Governor's Cup.

Two more third place finishes were collected by Sta. Lucia during the 1995 All-Filipino and Commissioner's Cups, with Frederick Pea as import. From 1996, SLR captured another third place finish in the Commissioner's Cup with Adonis Tierra as head coach.

At this point, Sta. Lucia's best year was in 1997 when the Realtors finished third in the All-Filipino, and fourth in the Commissioner's Cup and Governor's Cup. The ironic part was that they took on San Miguel in all Battle-for-Third games under former Purefoods head coach Chot Reyes while the Realtors selected Jason Webb as the third overall pick in the draft.

Reyes left the team in 1998, replacing him with Derrick Pumaren, Limpot's former coach at La Salle and Magnolia in the PABL. Esplana and Jackson were later traded to Formula Shell for Ronnie Magsanoc. It was this time that Magsanoc hit his 1,000 career third-pointer. The Realtors entered the semis of the All-Filipino Cup, but was defeated by San Miguel in a do-or-die match for the last Finals berth.

SLR struggled in the Commissioner's Cup with Ronnie Coleman, brother of then-Philadelphia 76ers forward Derrick Coleman, missing the quarterfinals. Espino and Limpot were later loaned to the Philippine Centennial Team and the Realtors continued to struggle in the Governor's Cup.

In 1999, Limpot and Espino returned for Sta. Lucia but lost Romy dela Rosa to the Metropolitan Basketball Association. But, the Realtors added former MBA star and 1992 PBA MVP Ato Agustin with Tierra returning as the head coach. Still, the Realtors placed dead last in the All-Filipino.

Fil-American Robert Parker and Parker's college teammate Kwan Johnson joined the team in the 1999 Commissioner's Cup. The addition of both Parker and Johnson revived the franchise and eventually led to a fourth-place finish in the tournament. However, it was proven that Parker was a fake Filipino-American and left the Philippines afterwards, leaving Johnson as Sta. Lucia's import for the Governor's Cup. Sta. Lucia owner Exy Robles and the Realtors management were charged by the government for hiring Parker, which later dropped.

The departure of Parker left the Realtors to a struggling performance in the season-ending Governor's Cup. Johnson was eventually replaced by Joe Temple during the course of the tournament.

0 comments on "Sta. Lucia Realty"

Post a Comment