Flashback to MMTLBA history (part 5)
Uno High School produced one player that went on to earn a berth in the professional league Philippine Basketball Association following a five-year UAAP tenure with the University of Santo Tomas from 1997-2001.
The ganging 6-6 Gilbert Lao saw action with the Uno Juniors (No. 17) in the early 1990s but did not win a Tiong Lian title. He also failed to win a UAAP crown with the Growling Tigers.
It was different in the PBA after he joined Asia’s oldest pro circuit in 2002.
Lao earned five championships, four of them under the tutelage of former national team mentor Chot Reyes, at Coca Cola and TNT KaTropa, and the last under Norman Black during the 2013 Philippine Cup.
After hanging up his jersey in 2014, Lao turned to coaching.
He was an assistant coach at Far Eastern University during the 2014 UAAP campaign. From 2016-18, he also served as an assistant with TNT KaTropa in the PBA.
When the global COVID-19 pandemic, he also was holding the same position with the Blackwater Elite.
Lao turns 42 on September 13.
San Miguel executive Alfrancis Chua, a product of Grace Christian High School/College has coached in the professional league PBA for several teams.
But only one former GCC star so far has made the PBA grade as a player.
His name: Alex Tan, who saw action with San Miguel Beer, Universal Textiles, Countryfair and Tanduay from 1981-85 and averaged 8.0 points in 184 games during his five-year PBA stint.
Alex was with the Tommy Manotoc-coached SMB team that won the 1982 Asian Invitational (Second Conference) over Crispa, South Korea and Toyota. Alas, he was traded to U-Tex in the Open (Third) Conference.
In high school, the 6-1 guard powered Grace to the 1970 Tiong Lian title. In 1974, Tan was a member of the UE team that beat FEU for the UAAP crown.
Following his playing days, Tan migrated to the U S. and became a pastor, only to come back later to take a head coaching job with Grace in the Tiong Lian league and Philippine Ching Yuen Athletic Association (PCYAA) during the 2010s.
Tan turns 66 on September 20.
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