Full Name: Ramón Sadaya Fernández
Birthday: October 3, 1953 (Age 68)
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
College: University of San Carlos
PBA draft: 1975 / Elevated Selected by the Toyota Comets
Playing career: 1972–1994
Position: Center / Power forward
Ramon Sadaya Fernåndez is a former basketball player and current commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission. Fernandez won four PBA MVP awards and a record 19 PBA conference cups.
Ramon Fernandez was a product of the University of San Carlos in Cebu. In 1972, he joined the San Miguel Braves, playing in the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA). The following year, he transferred to the newly formed Komatsu Komets (later renamed the Toyota Comets).
He was a member of several national teams, these include the teams for the 1972 ABC Under-18 Championship, the 1973 ABC Championship, the 1974 FIBA World Championship, the 1974 Asian Games and the 1990 Asian Games.
Ramon Fernandez moved to the Philippine Basketball Association in 1975, when the Toyota Comets became one of the nine pioneer teams of the league. With his teammates, Robert Jaworski, Francis Arnáiz, Arnie Tuadles, Danny Florencio, Emerito “Emer” Legaspi and Abe King, Toyota won nine titles from 1975-1983. Ramon Fernandez was the 1982 PBA Most Valuable Player, the only time he achieved the award during his days with the fabled Toyota team.
After Toyota’s disbandment in 1984, Fernandez and several former Toyota teammates joined Beer Hausen. With Toyota’s disbandment, the ongoing feud between Fernandez and Jaworski became public. Fernandez won the 1984 MVP award, his second, during his first season with the Lucio Tan-owned franchise, but never led the team to the championship until he was shipped in the middle of the 1985 season to Tanduay for Abet Guidaben.
From 1986-1987, Ramon Fernandez along with former Crispa rivals Freddie Hubalde and Padim Israel, J.B. Yango, Willie Generalao, Onchie dela Cruz and imports Rob Williams, Andre McKoy and later, David Thirdkill, led the Rhum Masters to three PBA titles. Fernandez won his third MVP award in 1986.
Tanduay would disband before the 1988 season, but the franchise rights were bought by the Purefoods. Fernandez would become playing coach, his first coaching stint, of a young team composed of Jerry Codiñera, Jojo Lastimosa, Al Solís, Glenn Capacio and later Alvin Patrimonio. In the 1988 Open Conference, he led his new team to a runner-up finish to San Miguel Beer. However, midway through the All-Filipino Conference, he would relinquish his coaching duties to his assistant, Cris Calilan, to concentrate on his game. But in a controversial move, Fernandez was benched during the Finals against Añejo Rhum. The said event led to his transfer to San Miguel Beer in exchange for, the second time, Abet Guidaben. Fernandez would later lead the Beermen to the 1988 Reinforced Conference Championship and also won his fourth MVP Award, becoming the first and the only player to win four MVP awards with four teams.
Ramon Fernandez was a vital cog in San Miguel’s historic grandslam run in 1989, while making amends with rival Jaworski during the All-Star Game of the same season, when El Presidente scored an undergoal stab off a Jaworski inbound pass at halfcourt, to lead the Veterans to a 132-130 win over the Rookie-Sophomores team. Legendary coach Baby Dalupan, then coaching the Veterans, summoned both players to a historic handshake at centercourt signaling the end of their bitter feud. However, despite leading his team to the “triple crown” that season, Fernandez narrowly lost to rookie Benjie Paras in the MVP balloting, denying the then 36-year old veteran a record-setting fifth MVP plum.