November 14, 2013

What's the oldest (and youngest) PBA team?

Have you ever wondered what the average age of every PBA team is? InterAKTV has just published the final team rosters for the 2012-13 PBA Philippine Cup. This is supposedly the "final" list but teams left out college players who are still playing (explained after the jump). Cross-referencing from the PBA official website players list, we can determine how old the players -- and their teams -- are.

Wait, which collegiate league is still playing? Ah yes, #HindiPaTaposAngNCAA, now on its probably fourth year. Only Rain or Shine is probably affected, since #3 draft pick Raymond Almazan is leading the Letran Knights against insurmountable odds in the NCAA Finals. Other than that, the team rosters are locked (until the next blockbuster Barako trade), so we can finally have some sort of finality when making lists such as this.

So the question is, which team is the oldest? The answer may surprise you. First, here's the chart of the ages of teams, arranged from youngest (top) to oldest (bottom) by average. The ages of the players drafted this year were taken from this list from InterAKTV. Each "block" is one player. The wider the "block" means the player is older. Red "blocks" stand for players that are over 30, green blocks for those 25 and under, and gray blocks for those in-between those ages. Players in the injured reserve (IR) list aren't included.

Eh wait, if this is ranked from youngest to oldest, why is TNT at the bottom when its row is shorter than Barako's? That's because some teams have more players than others. For example, TNT only has 12 players on the roster, while Barako used the full 15-man maximum, solely because they have PLENTY OF MONEY.

Here's the figures of the average ages per each team, arranged from youngest to oldest:
San Mig29.07
PBA average29.36
Talk 'N Text31.58
If you're confused with the decimals, each 0.25 increment is 3 months, and each 0.33 increment is 4 months.

So, some takeaways:
  • While Globalport is the youngest team, they have Eric Menk, the second oldest player in the league (behind Asi Taulava). It's offset though by 7 players who are 25 or under, the most in the league, including 21-year old Terrence Romeo, the youngest player sponsored by NAMBLA.
  • Rain or Shine only has one player over 30: Jireh Ibanes. They also have one player 25 or younger: Paul Lee. If Almazan, who is 24 years old, is included, it'll make ROS the second youngest team.
  • Alaska has more players older than 30 (8) than any other team. They also have the least number of players aged 26-30 years old, with two (JV Casio and RJ Jazul).
  • Talk 'N Text, the oldest team, is tied for second with the second most number of players over 30 with 7; they also have no players 25 and under. Twenty-six year old Nonoy Baclao is the baby of the team at 26 years old. Since they only have 12 players, they can scoop up a gold mine ***COUGH PAUL SANGA COUGH*** from the rookie free agent list to inject some youth in their aging core if they still to compete against the younger teams.
  • The PBA is an older league than the NBA, which has 26.3 years as the average age. There are several factors in this, but the easiest explanation is that players enter, and leave, the PBA at a later date than NBA. Pinoy college players usually max their eligibility, because they so love playing for free for school honor... eh, and who am I kidding. To further reinforce this, the minimum age for the PBA was 23 until they lowered it to 21 for this year's draft. Veterans, at least for the mythical team types or tall players, also don't leave until they're like 40. Jaworski played until he was 50 (and he's still not officially retired yet), Racela retired at 40, Taulava is 40, Menk is 39, and John Ferriols is apparently 39 too.
While there were some movement and draft pickups, we can see that the 2012-13 PBA finalists, save for TNT, are in the middle of the road. Alaska, San Mig, Petron, Rain or Shine and Ginebra rank 5th to 9th oldest, respectively. These teams invested on youth ***COUGH THANK YOU BARAKO COUGH*** and are banking on a deep and young team to win trophies this year. Let's see if their gamble pays off this year, or if TNT can get a last hurrah this season.

Last graph before you go: How many players are there in every age group? Let's see below:

The chart trajectory is somewhat similar to the "Unofficial" NBA census of 2013, but with older ages. In the NBA, there are 2 players who are 39 years old, out of 30 teams; in the PBA, there also 2 players of that same age, but out of only 10 teams.

Age bracketTotal%
25 and below2820.7%
Above 305440.0%
LOL. There more players aged above 30 than those aged between 26 and 30. Yeah sure there are more "ages" covered by the "over 30" group than the "25 and below" and "26-30" group, but those approaching 36 are barely as effective as those who are 26.

It would be awesome if we could come up with data such as those found in the Unofficial NBA census; some can be made like hometowns and colleges, as those should be readily available in the internet somewhere, but for instances such as salary, even if they do release the salary, are we going to take those numbers in face value? Nope.

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