Philip Cezar

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Philip Cezar
No. 18
Power Forward/Center
Personal information
Born (1951-12-01) December 1, 1951 (age 62)
Nationality Filipino
Listed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Listed weight 180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
College Jose Rizal College
PBA draft 1975 / Elevated
Selected by the Crispa Redmanizers
Pro career 1975–1991
Career history
PBA: Crispa Redmanizers, Shell Helix, Great Taste, Ginebra San Miguel
National team
Career highlights and awards
  • 1980 PBA Most Valuable Player
  • PBA Mythical First Team (1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1987)
  • PBA Mythical Second Team (1984, 1985)
  • PBA Best Defensive Team (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988)
  • PBA Hall of Fame Class of 2005

Philip "The Scholar" Cezar is a former Philippine Basketball Association basketball player. He was part of the fabled Crispa Redmanizers ballclub that won two Grand Slams, in 1976 and 1983. He won the Most Valuable Player award in 1980. He was also a many-time Philippine national team player in the 1970s. He was also known by the moniker "Tapal King".

PBA career[edit]

Coming from the JRU Heavy Bombers, some consider him the best “thinking” power forward in the history of the PBA, hence, he was dubbed as “The Scholar”. He is the premier example of a power forward with finesse unlike the power forwards of today like Eric Menk and Danny Ildefonso, and much earlier, Alvin Patrimonio and Nelson Asaytono, who rely primarily on sheer power and brute strength. Though barely 6'3" and less than 200 pounds, Cezar was usually given the unenviable task of guarding tall imports from opposing teams. On defense, his unusually long arms served him in good stead, using them in his famous "umbrella-like" defense and two-handed shot-blocks. And though he played the No. 4 position for most of his career, he was like a second point guard on the floor, often orchestrating big plays and dishing out timely passes. Cezar could also run the floor and finish fastbreaks with his patented "stretch" lay-up. He is best remembered as the very first one-on-one champion of the league when he defeated Ramon Fernandez in the finals of the 1979 Sprite One-on-One challenge where he won P25,000.00. He is also a consummate professional player, as he, though originally from Crispa, served as a long-time assistant coach to Robert Jaworski of the rival Toyota during the champion teams of Ginebra in the late 80s and early 90s. He finished his career with a total of 12,077 points good for No. 6 among all-time PBA scorers.

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 2005, Cezar, described by the eminent sportswriter Ronnie Nathanielsz as like a gazelle who is graceful and fluid in motion,[1] was part of the twelve initial inductees to the PBA Hall of Fame alongside fellow Crispa players Atoy Co and Bogs Adornado, 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, Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan and Danny Floro, and the late anchorman Joe Cantada.

He finished his illustrious PBA career as the No. 6 leading scorer with 12,077 points behind Fernandez, Abet Guidaben, Alvin Patrimonio, Atoy Co and Nelson Asaytono. He also is the fifth all-time best rebounder with 5,834 total rebounds behind Fernandez, Guidaben, Jerry Codiñera and Patrimonio and was No. 2 in shotblocks with 1,370. He also had 3,130 assists (3.4 assists per game), 599 steals, converted 2066/2767 free throws in 28127:05 minutes played in 918 games. Along with Fernandez, they are the only two players in PBA history who has accumulated at least 12,000 points, 5,000 rebounds and 1,000 shot blocks.

MBA career[edit]

After his retirement he went to coaching. In 2000, he coached the San Juan Knights to a championship in the now defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association beating the Negros Slashers in six games, 4-2.

Political career[edit]

He also served as a long-time Vice Mayor of the municipality of San Juan first under Mayor (now Senator) Jinggoy Estrada and later on Jinggoy's brother, Mayor J. V. Ejercito.

Months prior to the 2001 elections, he was appointed as Acting Mayor of San Juan while then Mayor Estrada was serving his suspension due to the plunder charges levelled against the latter and his father, former Philippine President Joseph Estrada.

UCAA Commissioner & PSBA Head Coach[edit]

In 2004, Cezar was named commissioner of the Universities and Colleges Athletic Association for its third season. In 2005, he accepted the job as the new head coach of the Philippine School of Business Administration.


  • from Rudy Salud, former PBA Commissioner - "As a player, Fernandez should be ranked No. 1. With his skills, I would rank him No. 1. But one little shade below him, very little shade, is Philip Cezar, a natural talent. In fact, they could even be a dead heat. Viewed from my angle, it's Fernandez in a photo finish, followed by Cezar. But viewed from the other side, it could be the other way around. Fernandez was tall, a natural advantage. He was quick, he had agility. For a tall player, he handled the ball very well. But all of those things - height, ball handling, agility - mayroon din si Cezar (Cezar also has)."
  • from Tommy Manotoc, former coach at Crispa - "Simple lang ang basketball kay Philip. (Basketball was a simple thing for Philip) He was one of our headiest players. He knew the game. He studied his opponents so well that he knew their every move."
  • from Ron Jacobs, former coach of San Miguel Beer - "Probably the player I respect more than any other was Philip Cezar. I thought he was a great defensive player and, at that time, the reputation was there were certain people who would take cheap shots at other players. Philip never did that. He really played straight up and I really respected him for that. And I respected his game."
  • from Tim Cone, coach of the San Mig Coffee - "He's called 'Tapal King.' He's got pretty long hands, and he's a good defender. He's awesome, he's the great reason why Crispa was successful. He does the dirty work for the team. Aside from being a good defender, he can also score if he wants. You must admire him because Crispa that time was loaded with so many good shooters like Freddie Hubalde, William Adornado and Atoy Co but Philip can still finish in double figures."

PBA career highlights[edit]

  • Member of the 1976 and 1983 Crispa Grand Slam Team
  • 1-time Most Valuable Player (1980)
  • 7-time Mythical First Team Selection (1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1987)
  • 2-time Mythical Second Team Selection (1984, 1985)
  • 2-time PBA All-Star
  • 4-time All Defensive Team Member (1985, 1986, 1987, 1988)
  • Member, PBA's 25 Greatest Players
  • Member, PBA Hall of Fame[2]
  • Member, 5,000 & 10,000 points clubs
  • Member, 1,000 offensive rebounds club
  • Member, 2,000 defensive rebounds club
  • Member, 2,000 assists club
  • Member, 900 & 1,000 shotblocks clubs
  • Member, 500 steals club

Other highlights[edit]

  • Member, 1974 Asian Games
  • Coach, San Juan Knights (Metropolitan Basketball Association)
  • Coach, Philippine School of Business Administration (Universities & Colleges Athletic Association)
  • Commissioner, Universities & Colleges Athletic Association (2004)


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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Atoy Co
NCAA Seniors' Basketball Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by
Freddie Hubalde
Preceded by
Atoy Co
PBA Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by
Bogs Adornado