Atoy Co

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Fortunato "Atoy" Co, Jr.
Atoy Co Coors Light NBA Pop-A-Shot Tour.jpg
No. 6, 60 – Retired
Position Shooting Guard/Small Forward
League PBA
Personal information
Nationality  Philippines
Listed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Career information
College Mapúa Institute of Technology
PBA draft 1975 / Elevated
Selected by the Crispa Redmanizers
Pro playing career 1975–1988
Career history
1974-1984 Crispa
1985-1986 Manila Beer
1987-1988 Great Taste
Career highlights and awards

As player:

As head coach:
Championships (1):
* 1990 PBL Challenge Cup (Crispa 400)

Fortunato Co, Jr., better known as Atoy Co, is a former Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) basketball player and actor who was part of the fabled Crispa Redmanizers ballclub that won two Grand Slams, in 1976 and 1983. He won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 1979 and was a 9-time Mythical First Team Member. He was a national team player that participated in the 1974 Asian Games. He is also the current Commissioner of UNTV CUP.

College career[edit]

Co was a member of the Mapua Cardinals during his college career at the NCAA. Before joining Mapua he was playing for the Philippine Cultural High School in Abad Santos.

King Cardinal[edit]

We all know him by the moniker Fortune Cookie, but the Mapua Institute of Technology will always remember him as the Fortune Rookie when he joined the team in 1970.

Discovered by Amang Lopez, the sweet shooting talent brought his basketball wares in the Institute as a simple cager named Fortunato Co. Equipped with a deadly perimeter shot and a killer first step, the 6'2" swingman scorched the net red hot as he fired hoop after hoop. His awkward and unorthodox way of shooting the ball made him a household name and an overnight basketball god. Moves that can only be seen in the NBA suddenly found their way to Philippines sports through Atoy Co. Back then, Philippine Basketball mainly revolved on bank shots and lay-ups but as Co threw long shots, another facet of the game bloomed, a facet that would later spell chances for his PBA team, the Crispa Redmanizers.

Co recalled that his family was not that well off. He used the opportunity of playing college ball to attend higher education. He narrated that to go to Mapua, then located at Doroteo Jose, he had to hitch a ride and walk the rest of the distance to attend practices and classes.

During those times, basketball clinics did not exist. Sheer perseverance and undying passion for the sport were the factors that catapulted him to the heights of college basketball. Memories of the old days can be seen flashing through the eyes of the fabled player as he tried to recall his Mapua days. Practice mainly ate up his time, but once in a while, he confided that he played billiards and killed time hanging around the campus eating his favorite snack - banana-cue.

PBA career[edit]

He first played in the PBA on April 22, 1975, scoring 34 points and leading Crispa to a 113-102 win over CFC, the team's first victory after starting the season with three (3) straight defeats.

Co was by far the best shooter there ever was in the Philippine Basketball Association long before the arrival of Allan Caidic. He was the main proponent of the famous fade-away shot and his patented “stop on a dime” jumper was unmatched in his storied career. Though he shot jumpers right-handed, Co was actually a lefty who learned to shoot with the right hand when he broke his left arm after falling from a tree as a young boy. As a result, he became adept with both hands, whether dribbling or shooting. A great scorer, he was the first player to score 5,000 points achieving it after four years, one month and five days after his debut on April 22, 1975. In 1984, he also became the first player to score 10,000 points in the PBA’s history. Had the PBA introduced the 3-point shot in 1975, he would have been the first to record 1,000 3-point shots, way ahead of Caidic and Ronald Magsanoc. Dubbed as the Fortune Cookie, he was named MVP in 1979 and a 9-time Mythical Team member. He ended his career as the PBA’s No. 4 in All-Time Scoring with 12,994 points behind fellow pioneers Ramon Fernandez and Alberto Guidaben and Alvin Patrimonio of batch 1988 as well as holding the distinction of being the first PBA player to have scored 5,000 and 10,000 points. He also was a career 78.6% FT shooter having converted 1549/1970 FT attempts and dished-off 2,640 assists (3.5 apg) in 14 seasons in the PBA from 1975-1988 in a grand total of 749 games in 24395:05 minutes.

In 2000, he was named as one of the PBA's 25 greatest players of all-time in elaborate awards ceremonies that highlighted the 25th year anniversary of the league.

In 2003, he played in the Crispa-Toyota Reunion Game that kick-started the PBA's 2003 All-Star Weekend.

In 2005, Co played for the Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan-coached TM PBA Legends that defeated the TM PBA Greats, 96-92, in an exhibition match as the featured event of the league’s 30th year anniversary festivities. The two (2) teams were made up of the 25 Greatest Players that were chosen by coaches Dalupan and Robert Jaworski.

Later that same year, Co was part of the twelve (12) initial inductees to the PBA Hall of Fame alongside fellow Crispa players Bogs Adornado and Philip Cezar, and Toyota stalwarts Jaworski, Francis Arnaiz and Fernandez together with former PBA Commissioners Leo Prieto, Emerson Coseteng and Atty. Rudy Salud as well as legendary Crispa coach and team manager, respectively, Dalupan and Danny Floro, and the late anchorman Joe Cantada.

Post-PBA career[edit]

Atoy Co ventured into the showbiz after his playing days were over, first as a co-host for the noontime show Student Canteen over at RPN (now Solar TV) then made a short career of mostly playing sidekick to action stars such as Philip Salvador (a close personal friend of Atoy). Among his movie credits were "Masahol pa sa Hayop", "Delima Gang" & "Uhaw na Bulaklak"[1]

He also became a politician as he served as a long-time City Councilor of Pasig City. Prior to that, he had served as a kagawad in barangay Kapitolyo before he joined the party of Mayor Vicente Eusebio. He recently stepped down from office after serving three straight terms (the maximum allowed by Philippine law).

He is currently the head coach of his old college team, the Mapua Cardinals.

Trivia[edit]

  • During his PBA career, the name on the back of his jersey is always written as "F. Co, Jr." (sometimes, "Co, Jr.").
  • Co wore jersey #60 during his final seasons with Great Taste, due to the use of the #6 jersey by teammate and former Toyota rival Abe King. When King left the team, Co reverted to #6, and when King re-signed, he wore #1. This was during the Great Taste Milk incarnation of the team.

Quotes[edit]

  • from Norman Black, former PBA coach and presently Ateneo head coach in the UAAP - "How many players do you see go on a fastbreak with the lane wide open, stop and take a jumper? Atoy did that a lot. And the thing that amazed me was that he made his jump shots as if he were making lay-ups."
  • from Rudy Salud, former PBA Commissioner - "Sweet-shooting. He would hit shots that many coaches would say, 'No, no, no . . . . good!'"
  • from Tommy Manotoc, former coach at Crispa - "A pure talent. Naging movie star lang masyado. (He just became too much of a movie star) Offensive-wise, what you've seen with Michael Jordan, Atoy Co already had back then. He was the first off-guard to introduce the various ways to shoot. Noong araw, bago ka tumira, dapat naka-set ka, nakaharap ka sa basket. Si Atoy, nakatalikod man o naka-baliktad and paa, tumitira. (Back then, before you shoot you had to be set for the shot facing the basket. Atoy could shoot the ball even if he wasn't facing the basket or even if his feet were inverted) To me, he innovated offensive basketball. The moves, the ballet, siya ang nag-umpisa (he started it all)."
  • from Shin Dong Pa, legendary Korean shooter - on forgotten basketball moves - "Basketball has become too scientific because of the NBA. In our time, many Asians can shoot on either leg. In the Philippines today, only Johnny Abarrientos can do that as I understand he was a former dancer." So goes with Atoy Co.

PBA career highlights[edit]

  • Member of the 1976 and 1983 Crispa Grand Slam Team
  • 1-time Most Valuable Player (1979)
  • 9-time Mythical First Team Selection (1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984)
  • Member, PBA's 25 Greatest Players
  • Member, PBA Hall of Fame[2]
  • Member, 5,000 & 10,000 points clubs, first PBA player to score 5,000 and 10,000 points.
  • Member, 2,000 assists club

Other highlights[edit]

  • Member, 1974 Asian Games

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1953911/
  2. ^ http://www.pba.com.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=462&Itemid=59

External links[edit]

Preceded by
NCAA Seniors' Basketball Most Valuable Player
1971
Succeeded by
Philip Cezar
Preceded by
Robert Jaworski
PBA Most Valuable Player
1979
Succeeded by
Philip Cezar
Preceded by
Chito Victolero
Mapua Cardinals men's basketball head coach
2013
Succeeded by
(incumbent)