Durian Central: Alvin and Jerry

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Monday, June 16, 2014

FROM the mid- 80s to the late 90s, they were a dominant force in Philippine basketball. Alvin Patrimonio was one of the country's top basketball players, a four-time PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) Most Valuable Player. He was known as the Captain, being the team leader which was a perennial championship contender.

Jerry Cordinera, was Alvin's teammate in the Purefoods basketball team, one of the popular teams in the PBA. He was known as the Defense Minister and Tapal (shotblock) King for his defensive prowess and together with Alvin was a also one of the country's top basketball centers in the 1990s.

Aside from basketball, the two dabbled in showbiz, aside from basketball skills they were also blessed also with movie-star good looks, which made them popular with fans. They starred along with fellow cager Bong Alvarez and teen stars Carmina Villaroel, Aiko Melendez and Ruffa Guitierrez in the comedy basketball flick Last Two Minutes and again appeared alongside Kris Aquino in 1994's fantasy film Tasya Fantasya.


Decades after their retirement, Alvin Patrimonio is currently the team manager of the San Miguel Coffee Mixers (formerly Purefoods); while Jerry Cordinera is presently the coach of Arellano University in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

The popular duo recently visited Tagum City, where they graced the unveiling of a court of inspiration built by pain reliever brand Alaxan FR. The court of inspiration of which 21 has been built all over the country are concrete open-type basketball courts which serves as a playing venue for potential basketball stars in the country.

"Excited mgabatamatuto (the kids were excited to learn)," Alvin described the clinic they gave to kids earlier during the day.

Jerry said it’s all about extra hard work to improve on their skills as to the reason they reach the stature in professional basketball, something he wants to impart to the kids at the basketball clinic and also to his college wards in Arellano. He said this "extras" is fueled by passion for the game which will motivate someone to learn and master the basics now matter the challenges.

"When you love something, there will be pain but pain will just be temporary, it will make you stronger and better," Jerry said.

Alvin echoed his hard court partner's words, it's all about hard work and never giving up in perfecting the game. He said initially his approach to basketball was a means to help his family through free education by way of a basketball scholarship. Only did he realize that there is a much larger potential in becoming a professional basketball player.

And with their former team in the cusp of achieving a rare grand slam (winning the three championships in the PBA season) in which only three PBA teams were able to do (Crispa in 1976 and 1983, San Miguel in 1989 and Alaska in 1996) this writer asked the two on the chances of the team.
"Its doable with the current line-up. With the complete line-up and with the team chemistry I cannot see why they can't win the championship," said Jerry.

The 6'5" center who is the son of baseball legend Filomeno Cordinera is proud that their legacy of hard work, which has made Purefoods one of the top teams during their prime is serving an inspiration to the younger players of San Mig Coffee.

For Alvin, he is also hopeful that this team can break records, citing the chemistry of the team and the wonderful coaching job of Tim Cone. "I am grateful of being part of this winning tradition. I know winning championship is really hard in fact kami ni Jerry ang hirap magchampion noon but I know they can do it," Alvin said.

In imparting valuable lessons to basketball kids, Alvin says to first focus on their team. "If the team wins, the individual awards follow."
For Jerry, it is about discipline, the products of which is consistency and less injury as discipline also means taking care of our bodies.

"Being a basketball player has made me a more responsible person," Jerry said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 16, 2014.


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