Who was the best PBA player to wear each jersey number from 00 to 47?


(Note: this article first came out on Apr. 9, 2020. It has been updated.)

Believe it or not, in the PBA's 47-year history, all numbers from 00 to 47 were used at least once by a player or referee. Some numbers were used more than most, of course, and that got us thinking: who was the best player to have donned each jersey number?

Here is the list we came up with:

00 - Michael Hackett: the first PBA player to breach the century mark in scoring by putting up 103 points on November 21, 1985.

0 - Mike Cortez: The top overall pick in the loaded 2003 PBA Draft is a three-time PBA champion and the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year.

Others: Simon Enciso

1 - Manny Victorino: a 6'5" pivotman who was a five-time PBA All-Star, a three-time 1st Mythical Team selection, and the league's Most Improved Player in 1984.

Others: Andrew Fields, Bal David, Bong Ravena, Rico Maierhofer

2 - Billy Ray Bates: known as "The Black Superman" this former NBA veteran dazzled crowds with his high-flying dunks and showmanship.

3 - Jimmy Alapag: the 2011 MVP is also an 11-time All-Star, a 3-time 1st Mythical Team selection and perhaps the most iconic player in Philippine history to don the #3 jersey.

Others: Paul Lee, Stanley Pringle, Nic Belasco

4 - Elmer Reyes: one of the original national team members to transition into the PBA and an integral member of San Miguel's 1989 Grand Slam team.

Others: Bonel Balingit, Jason Perkins, Harvey Carey, Dorian Peña, Rafi Reavis

5 - Abet Guidaben: one of four two-time MVPs in league history (1983 and 1987). He was part of two Grand Slams with the Crispa Redmanizers in 1976 and 1983.

Others: Ronnie Magsanoc, Gabe Norwood, L.A. Tenorio, Alex Cabagnot

6 - Atoy Co: the "Fortune Cookie" is first player in PBA history to achieve 5,000 and 10,000 points in a career and was also the 1979 league MVP.

Others: Ato Agustin, Estoy Estrada, Jojo Lastimosa, Abe King, Noli Locsin, Chris Ross, Scottie Thompson

7 - Robert Jaworski: the 1978 MVP is also known as the league's "Living Legend" as well as the architect of today's "Never Say Die" or NSD of Barangay Ginebra.

Others: Dondon Hontiveros, Rey Evangelista, Sonny Thoss, Terrence Romeo, JP Erram

8 - Allan Caidic: not only was the "Triggerman" the 1990 PBA MVP, but he also holds the record for most points ever scored in a game by a local (79) and most 3-point FGs made in a game (17).

Others: Francis Arnaiz, Al Solis, Calvin Abueva, Don Allado, Peter June Simon

9 - Samboy Lim: the "Skywalker" enthralled fans with his aerial acrobatics both in the PBA and in international competition. He was also named one of the 25 greatest players in league history.

Others: Eugene Quilban, Boybits Victoria, Jun Limpot, Baser Amer

10 - Danny Ildefonso: winning back-to-back MVPs in 2000 and 2001, "Lakay" was also an eight-time All-Star and a five-time Best Player of the Conference (BPC).

Others: Freddie Hubalde, Alvin Teng, Dindo Pumaren, Rommel Adducul

11 - Willie Miller: another two-time MVP (2002 and 2007), "The Thriller" also won four championships in his 14-year PBA career.

Others: Nelson Asaytono, Arnie Tuadles, Chris Newsome

12 - Yves Dignadice: a member of San Miguel's 1989 Grand Slam team, Dignadice won nine championships and was a three-time All-Star. He was also part of the first-ever all-PBA national team which won the silver medal in the 1990 Asian Games.

Others: Dante Gonzalgo, Vince Hizon, Larry Fonacier

13 - Jay-Jay Helterbrand: was the 2009 PBA MVP and was a part of six Ginebra championships in his 18-year PBA career which included six All-Star appearances and two 1st Mythical Team selections.

Others: Manny Paner, Marlou Aquino, Leo Austria, Yoyoy Villamin, Marcio Lassiter

14 - Benjie Paras: the "Tower of Power" has the distinction of being the only PBA Rookie-MVP (1989) and for the longest gap between first and second MVPs (10 seasons).

Others: Johnny Abarrientos, Hector Calma, Lim Eng Beng, Ren-Ren Ritualo, Rico Villanueva, Mark Barroca

15 - June Mar Fajardo: the only player in league history to be named MVP six consecutive times and perhaps the GOAT.

Others: Bernie Fabiosa Marc Pingris, Ricky Relosa, Rey Cuenco

16 - Alvin Patrimonio: "The Captain" is one of two four-time PBA MVPs and played his entire career with just one franchise (1988-2004). He was also a 10-time 1st Mythical Team selection and a 12-time All-Star.

Others: Bong Hawkins, Dennis Espino, Jeff Chan, RR Pogoy

17 - Jayson Castro: "The Blur" is also named among the PBA's 40 Greatest Players and is also a 5-time PBA BPC, a 7-time All-Star and league scoring champion.

Others: Olsen Racela, Jun Papa, Terry Saldaña, Padim Israel, Mark Cardona

18 - James Yap: "Big Game James" has been named an All-Star for his entire PBA career and was the 2006 and 2010 league MVP.

Others: Philip Cezar, Vergel Meneses, Troy Rosario

19 - Ramon Fernandez: "El Presidente" or "Don Ramon" as he is known, dominated the PBA in the 1980s by winning four MVP awards in that decade (1982, 1984, 1986, 1988) and was also a prime contributor in the 1989 San Miguel Grand Slam.

Others: Kenneth Duremdes

20 - Sean Chambers: he is the only import to have his jersey number retired by his former team which he led to its first ever franchise title in 1991. He is only the second player ever to be feted with the "Mr. 100%" award.

Others: Greg Slaughter, Gary David, Raymond Almazan

21 - Kelly Williams: "Machine Gun Kelly" was a former league MVP who battled thrombocytopenia at the peak of his career but made a triumphant comeback to help TNT win five championships.

Others: Paul Alvarez, Reynel Hugnatan, Kerby Raymundo

22 - Bobby Parks: a seven-time PBA Best Import, Parks was named to the PBA Hall of Fame in 2009 and amassed over 9,000 points in his 12-year PBA career. The Best Import award was named after him.

Others: Jeffrey Cariaso

23 - Ricardo Brown: he was the first Filipino-American to win both Rookie of the Year (1983) and MVP honors (1985) and was named to four 1st Mythical Team selections in a short seven-year PBA career.

24 - Norman Black: he was the first recipient of the "Mr. 100%" award and was a two-time Best Import winner. He is also the architect of the 1989 San Miguel Grand Slam and among the winningest coaches in Philippine history.

Others: Willie Generalao, JB Yango

25 - Japeth Aguilar: a seven-time PBA All-Star and one of the most versatile big men in the league today. He was also the last recipient of the PBA Finals MVP award in last season's Governors' Cup.

26 - Rosell Ellis: he donned this jersey number in his first PBA stint in 2001 for the Pop Cola Panthers. He was also the 2007 Best Import in the PBA Fiesta Conference leading the Alaska Aces to the title and had five tours of duty in the league from 2001-2009.

27 - Jervy Cruz: this former UST King Tiger is a four-time PBA champion and is now entering his 12th season in the league.

28 - Joy Carpio: this 6'4" former Ateneo star had a fruitful 12-year PBA career, most notably with Great Taste, having been a part of six championships of the franchise along with two titles with the Crispa Redmanizers.

29 - Arwind Santos: the 2013 PBA MVP has won nine championships with the San Miguel franchise and "Spiderman" has been named to the PBA's All-Defensive Team seven times.

30 - Eric Menk: "Major Pain" was among the dominant forces in the league in the early portion of the millennium and even snared the 2005 MVP plum. He is also a three-time Finals MVP and a ten-time All-Star.

Others: Gerry Esplana

31 - Larry McNeill - The former Gilbey's Gin import played in only one PBA finals, but once held the single-game scoring record after he dropped 88 points in one game.

Others: John Arigo

32 - Justin Brownlee: coming in as a replacement import in the 2016 Governors' Cup, Brownlee is now the most iconic import of this generation, leading Ginebra to four championships in four seasons.

33 - William "Bogs" Adornado: was the league's first back-to-back MVP winner (1975-1976) and also the PBA's first three-time MVP after winning the 1981 trophy as a member of the U/Tex Wranglers.

Others: Vic Pablo, Jay Washington, Ranidel de Ocampo, Moala Tautuaa

34 - Ali Peek: The Man Mountain was a six-time champion, five-time All-Star, and won BPC in the 2003 Invitational Conference.

Others: Christian Standhardinger

35 - Tony Dela Cruz: TDLC played 18 seasons, during which time he won three championships, wasn named to the Mythical Second Team once, and was a four-time All-Star.

Others: Zaldy Realubit, Matthew Wright

36 - PJ Ramos: the 7'3" former Puerto Rican national team member had a meaningful stint in the 2015 PBA Commissioner's Cup, leading Kia Carnival to a near playoff appearance.

37 - JR Quiñahan: the former two-time CESAFI MVP helped Rain or Shine win two titles before moving to NLEX.

38 - Joe Devance: this former top overall pick by Welcoat in the 2007 Draft has amassed ten championships in his career, including a Grand Slam with the San Mig Coffee Mixers in 2014.

39 - Jericho Cruz: he is a four-time PBA All-Star and the league's Most Improved Player in 2016.

40 - Noy Castillo: proving that he was more than a mere pawn in the 1998 PBA Draft controversy, Castillo went on to play for the national team in the 2002 Asian Games and also pocket Most Improved Player honors in 2001.

41 - Chito Loyzaga: an inductee into the PBA's 40 Greatest Players, he was known for his defensive tenacity and knack for hitting big shots for Ginebra. He was a seven-time member of the PBA All-Defensive Team.

42 - Danny Seigle: the 1999 Rookie of the Year was also part of eight title teams for the Beermen in his 12 years of service with the franchise-winning four Finals MVP trophies as well.

Others: JVee Casio

43 - Bruce "Sky" King: one of the most iconic imports in that franchise's short history, he helped Toyota win three championships and wore this number during his last stint with the team in 1980.

44 - Jerry Codiñera: known as the "Defense Minister" for his rim protection prowess, this 6'5" center was a nine-time PBA All-Defensive Team selectee and also the league's Defensive Player of the Year in 1994. He also among the PBA's 25 Greatest Players.

Others: Danny Florencio

45 - Henry James: this prolific former NBA journeyman almost led Ginebra to the 1996 Commissioner's Cup Finals.

46 - Jun Cordero: Okay, okay. He was a referee, not a player. But we had to squeeze him in because after an exhaustive search we could not find any PBA player - local or import - who wore the number 46. Any information to the contrary is welcome.

47 - Mark Caguioa: Who else could it be but Mark the Spark? The 21-year veteran has spent his entire PBA career with the Ginebra franchise, where he was Rookie of the Year in 2001 and league MVP in 2012. He's won nine PBA titles and is currently 15th on the all-time scoring list for locals.