Francis Arnaiz

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Francis Arnaiz
No. 8 – Retired
Position Point Guard/Shooting Guard
League PBA
Personal information
Born (1951-06-04) June 4, 1951 (age 63)
Bacolod City, Negros Occidental
Nationality  Philippines
Listed height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Listed weight 152 lb (69 kg)
Career information
College Ateneo de Manila University
PBA draft 1975 / Elevated
Selected by the Toyota Super Corollas
Pro playing career 1975–1986
Career history
1975-1983 Toyota
1984-1986 Ginebra San Miguel
Career highlights and awards

Francis C. Arnaiz (born June 4, 1951) is a Filipino former basketball player in the Philippine Basketball Association. He played for Toyota and Ginebra San Miguel from 1975-1986. He was also a former member of the Philippine national basketball team having played in the 1973 Asian Basketball Confederation Tournament and 1974 FIBA World Basketball Tournament.

Francis Arnaiz
Medal record
Men’s basketball
Competitor for  Philippines
FIBA Asia Championship
Gold 1973 Manila Team competition

Early Basketball Years[edit]

Arnaiz had a love for sports and was shooting stuffed toys into a basket in early childhood. While studying at La Salle-Bacolod in elementary school, he competed in football and basketball. Football provided the speed and exceptional footwork, skills which would later develop him into an outstanding but overrated basketball player. He led St. Clement's High School to the PRISAA basketball championship. He played for Ateneo de Manila which won the 1969 NCAA basketball championship.

PBA career[edit]

Arnaiz became one of the original members of Toyota during his first nine seasons in the PBA. He, along with Robert Jaworski and Ramon Fernandez, formed the troika of the vaunted Toyota offense. During his years with the Delta Motor-owned company, they won nine PBA titles while having memorable games against arch-rival Crispa Redmanizers where he had many ferocious on and off the court battles with Bernie Fabiosa. Arnaiz became one of the most popular players on the team not only for his playing style, but also gained a following among the female fans due to his mestizo look.

He hit clutch baskets for Toyota during crucial moments of the game, thus the moniker "Mr. Clutch." He is known for his looping layups against imports and local behemoths that was impossible to block.

After Toyota disbanded in 1984, Arnaiz followed Jaworski in a controversial move to Gilbey's Gin (later known as Ginebra San Miguel). With him and Jaworski reliving their old backcourt partnership, they made Ginebra become a prominent contender in the PBA. However, he migrated to the United States and retired permanently in 1986 before he saw Ginebra win their first PBA title.

He is considered one of the most explosive guards in the PBA. He was a member of both the 5,000 and 10,000 points club having finished his career with a total of 10,292 points for an average of 16.8 points per game. He was also a member of the 2,000 assists club. He was the other half of the dreaded Batman and Robin tandem of Toyota, the other being Jaworski himself.[1]

Retirement[edit]

After his playing career, Arnaiz emigrated to the United States, resided in California, and later worked for the United States government while also becoming an evangelist. Arnaiz claims in an interview that his life abroad was quite different from his living the fast life as a player in the Philippines.

In 2000, he was named in the PBA's 25 Greatest Players List during a ceremony on April 9. His brother, Leo, received the award after Arnaiz failed to received his award due to his work commitments in the United States.

In 2004, Arnaiz made his long-awaited return to the country. He was interviewed by various media outlets recalling several memories from his playing days to his life after retirement. He was supposed to play in 2003 Crispa-Toyota Reunion Game and the 2005 TM Legends Game but failed to arrive due to his prior commitments.

Quotes[edit]

  • from Rudy Salud, former PBA Commissioner - "He fired up the fans with his looping layup. He had that style, and looks, and movement. That fired up the fans."
  • from Leo Prieto, the first PBA Commissioner - "He was a very fast player and made some moves that were exceptional for a small player. Because of his football background, he had the legs to compete, to go over the defensive player."
  • on his PBA career - "I was not like Sonny (Jaworski) while I was still playing basketball in the PBA. I took so many things and people for granted. Despite my career records and many championships, I never tried to be the best I could be. I never gave the game my all. And that is so sad. Looking back, I realize today that championships, trophies, achievements, and records are all so temporary. Sooner or later, someone else or another team will win the same championships, break those records and win the same trophies. They are never permanent. Ultimately, what no one can take away from you is when you can say to yourself at the end of the day, win or lose that 'I did my best.'"

PBA Career Highlights[edit]

  • 3-time Mythical First Team Selection (1975, 1976, 1982)
  • 9-time PBA Champion (all with Toyota)
  • Member, 5,000 and 10,000 points club
  • Member, 2,000 assists club

Other Highlights[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]