Basketball Players

Basketball Player Profiles Enrico Villanueva



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Enrico Villanueva more popularly known as the "Raging Bull" in the the local basketball scene in the Philippines, is a Filipino professional basketball player for the Barangay Ginebra Kings in Asia's first play-for-pay league, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA.)

The 6-foot-6 center started playing competitive basketball with the Ateneo Blue Eaglets high school basketball team in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Juniors Division where he became the centerpiece of the championship-bound varsity squad.

In 1998, Villanueva moved up to the senior ranks as an Ateneo Blue Eagle. By then the power player teamed up with versatile forward Rich Alvarez and the rest of the glamor boys composed of Larry Fonacier, Wesley Gonzales, LA Tenorio and Gec Chia.

Despite a star-studded supporting cast, Villanueva was unable to led the Blue Eagles to a UAAP crown during his first four years with the team as their arch rival the De La Salle Green Archers were just too dominant during those times. 

In his final collegiate playing year in 2002, the Villanueva-led Blue Eagles faced huge odds against the James Yap-fueled University of the East Red Warriors in the Final Four of the UAAP tournament with the Red Warriors enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage. However, Vilanueva powered the Eagles to the finals and shook the foundations of Philippine basketball as they upset the Green Archers, ending the long-standing De La Salle Dynasty.

The following year, Villanueva joined the PBA draft in arguably the most talent-laden draft in the history of the league. Villanueva ended up as the seventh overall pick having selected by the Batang Red Bull Thunder. Needless to say the draft pool includes the likes of superstar point guard Jimmy Alapag, La Salle scoring sensation Mike Cortez and Southeast Asian basketball star Rommel Adducul.

In his rookie season, Villanueva averaged modest numbers of 7.4 points and 4.5 rebounds playing a limited role as a reliever of veterans Davon Harp and Mick Pennisi. 

Nevertheless, Villanueva assumed a greater responsibility in the following years as he became the go-to-guy of the Red Bull franchise upon the departure of Harp due to controversies regarding his citizenship.

Villanueva led Red Bull to the 2005-2006 Fiesta Conference title and won the conference MVP beating the likes of Yap and Kerby Raymundo. 

In 2007, Villanueva was traded to the San Miguel Beermen where he played a back-up role to two-time MVP Danny Ildefonso. After a year and a half with the superstar-laden squad, Villanueva was traded to the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants in exchange of impact player Marc Pingris.

At present, the tenacious power player Villanueva plays for the Ginebra franchise alongside the veteran troika of Eric Menk, Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand. 

More about this author: John Louie Ramos

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