Fan of the Month - Ariel Morales

Fan of the Month - Ariel Morales

I started collecting the autographs of the PBA 25 greatest players more than 8 years ago when I found out that the "Quick Brown Fox" Ricardo Brown is coming for a short visit to the country after 20 plus years. In anticipation of his return, I created a custom-made PBA 25 Greatest poster using Photoshop. The artwork has the players' photos. Below each photo is a placeholder when they can place their signatures.

Initially, I'm not expecting to complete the autographs since some of them are residing abroad (Arnaiz, Brown, Fabiosa, Florencio and Guidaben.) while some are no longer in the limelight or is not connected with the PBA or any of its team especially the pioneers (Paner, Lim Eng Beng, etc.) I told myself that getting them all is nearly impossible. I'd be happy to get at least 15 out of the 25.

The first autographs I've obtained are from "The Skywalker" Samboy Lim, "Triggerman" Allan Caidic and "The Captain" Alvin Patrimonio. I got the others through the help of some of my friends. Aside from the three, the most memorable experience for me is meeting "El Presidente" Ramon Fernandez, "The Big J" Robert Jaworski and Atoy Co. Being a big basketball fanatic for the longest time, I was in awe when I met them! Never did I thought that I'd meet the players I grew up watching.

When the league celebrated their 40th anniversary, the PBA added another 15 players to their list of greatest players. I

I created another poster for the newly added greats. I also included Nelson, Danny and Abe on the poster since I really believe they should be there. Frankly, I was very disappointed they were not named on the list. It wasn't hard to obtain the sigs of the new additions since most of them are still active.

Fast forward to 2018. The only autographs I'm missing at that time are from Bernie Fabiosa and Abet Guidaben. In July that year, I went to LA and New York, where luckily for me, they are both based, respectively. Through the help of friends, I was able to meet them and got their signatures! And to cap my US tour, I was also fortunate to meet one of the league's greatest rebounder and tough player, Abe King. He went out of his way and drove to California just to meet me.

Aside from the poster, I also collect jerseys and managed to have it all signed as well as the "Heroes and Legends of Philippine Basketball" and the PBA 25th Anniversary books.

Well, that is my PBA experience. Its a journey that I will always cherish in my lifetime. I made a lot of friends and enjoyed every minute of it. Perhaps the only thing missing from my collection is a game used June Mar Fajardo jersey. That will surely be one of the highlight of my collection.