By Peter Atencio
Ex-Philippine Basketball Association cager Terry Saldaña passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 64 due to a kidney ailment.
His former Toyota teammate Ed Cordero confirmed Saldaña’s passing.
Saldaña saw action for 17 seasons in the league.
During his time in the pro league, Saldaña won five championships with Toyota, Ginebra/Gordon’s Gin and Swift.
He last played for the Batang Red Bull Energizers in 2000 before retiring.
His basketball career started when Saldaña played for the Letran Squires in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Then, Saldaña took his act to the University of Santo Tomas Glowing Goldies in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.
In 1982, Saldaña was signed to a rookie contract by Toyota and would have been the PBA’s Rookie of the Year awardee had he not figured in a brawl against the visiting South Korean national team in the 1982 PBA Invitationals.
Known as the “Plastic Man” for his twisting hang-time shots inside the paint, Saldana became the league’s first Most Improved Player Awardee in the league the following year playing for Gordon’s Gin.
In 1987, he suffered a gruesome injury on national television, but miraculously recovered from what looked like a career-ending injury as he played for 11 more seasons in the pro league.