Rich Alvarez

Richard Datu Alvarez (born October 30, 1980) is a Japanese-born Filipino former professional basketball player and coach. He last played for the Kia Picanto of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). He was the first overall pick of 2004 PBA Draft by the Shell Turbo Chargers.[1] He is currently an assistant coach for the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters of the PBA.

Rich Alvarez
Rich Alvarez 2007.jpg
Alvarez in 2007
Rain or Shine Elasto Painters
PositionAssistant coach
Personal information
Born (1980-10-30) October 30, 1980 (age 41)
Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
Listed height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High schoolNile C. Kinnick High School
CollegeAteneo de Manila University
PBA draft2004 Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Shell Turbo Chargers
Playing career2004–2016
PositionPower forward
Number21, 10, 11, 40, 32
Coaching career2016–present
Career history
As player:
2004–2005Shell Turbo Chargers
2005–2006Alaska Aces
2006–2008Red Bull Barako
2008–2009Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants
2009–2010Barangay Ginebra Kings
2010Air21 Express
2010–2013Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters
2014–2016Kia Sorento / Kia Carnival / Mahindra Enforcer / Mahindra Floodbuster / Kia Picanto
As coach:
2016–2018Mahindra Floodbuster / Kia Picanto (assistant)
2019–2020GenSan Warriors
2021Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters (assistant)
2021–presentRain or Shine Elasto Painters (assistant)
Career highlights and awards

Early life and college careerEdit

Alvarez grew up in Yokosuka, Japan where he first played for the Nile C. Kinnick High School Basketball Varsity Squad. Shortly, after finishing high school, he flew to the Philippines and attended at Ateneo de Manila University where he became a pivotal part of the Blue Eagles basketball squad. At Ateneo, he was known for his tenacity and hustle plays. Thus, as a sophomore in 2000, he won the coveted UAAP MVP award, beating the likes of King Archer Mike Cortez, fellow Blue Eagle Enrico Villanueva and UST's Cyrus Baguio.[2]

The following year in 2001, he won his second UAAP MVP plum. However, the team still failed to win the championship as the Green Archers established their dynasty in the collegiate ranks courtesy of winning their fourth-straight UAAP championship.

Finally, in 2002, with a stellar supporting cast composed of LA Tenorio, Larry Fonacier, Wesley Gonzales and Gec Chia, he anchored the Blue Eagles to win the title against the heavily favored Green Archers, their first title since 1988.

While in the amateur ranks, he also played for several teams in the Philippine Basketball League, such as Hapee-Nenaco/FASH and Pioneer Insurance. He was also a member of the Philippine national team that competed in the 2003 SEA Games.[citation needed]

PBA careerEdit

Alvarez was drafted first overall by Shell Turbo Chargers in the 2004 PBA Draft, ahead of former college rival James Yap. He played his first PBA game on the team's second game after former coach John Moran benched him in the first game. He thought that Alvarez was not yet ready to play,[3][4] but when Leo Austria took over the team's coaching duties, his game status went up and won the Rookie of the Year honors at season's end.[5] In his rookie season, he averaged 8.8 points and 6.4 rebounds in 72 games.

As the Shell franchise was about to take a leave of absence from the league, he was traded to the Alaska Aces along with Tony dela Cruz,[6] where he struggled in his only appearance with the team during the 2005-06 PBA Fiesta Conference. Prior to the start of the 2006 PBA Philippine Cup, he was traded to the Red Bull Barako in exchange for two 1st round picks, reuniting him with some of his former teammates in college.

In 2008, he was traded again, this time to Purefoods in exchange for Barako's 2011 first-round pick.[7]

The following year, he was involved into a blockbuster multi-player deal that sent him to the Ginebra Kings.[8]

In 2010, he was traded again, along with Doug Kramer, to Air21 in exchange for Yancy de Ocampo.[9]

As his contract with Air21 expired, he signed with Talk 'N Text prior to start of the 2010–11 PBA season. Initially, he was only signed to a one-conference contract.[6] However, with his valuable contributions off the bench, he stayed with the Tropang Texters until the 2012–13 PBA season. In his last year with the team, he only averaged career-low numbers of 0.4 point, 1.1 rebounds and 0.2 assist in just 20 games.


After his stint with Talk 'N Text, he found himself without a team for the entire 2013–14 season. However, when the news broke out that three franchises KIA, Blackwater, and NLEX were accepted as expansion teams in the PBA, he immediately joined the tryouts of Team Kia, and he's out to prove he can still compete.[10] His competitiveness and renewed fervor rewarded him of a spot at Kia Sorento for the upcoming 2014–15 PBA season.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

Alvarez began dating R&B singer, Kyla (real name Melanie Calumpad) in 2005. After six years of dating, he proposed in January 2011. Their wedding took place on November 28, 2011. Their son, Toby Elsiah, was born on May 5, 2013.[12]


  1. ^ Beltran, Nelson (January 17, 2004). "Charges make Alvarez No. 1 draft pick". The Philippine Star. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
  2. ^ "Sportinglife 360 - Car & Automotive".
  3. ^ Cordero, Abac & Beltran, Nelson (February 24, 2004). "Alvarez missed in action". The Philippine Star. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
  4. ^ Henson, Joaquin (March 2, 2004). "What's Moran up to?". The Philippine Star. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
  5. ^ Beltran, Nelson (July 9, 2005). "SMB closes in on PBA crown". The Philippine Star. Retrieved December 9, 2009.
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ "Rich transfer: Red Bull sends Alvarez to Purefoods".
  8. ^[dead link]
  9. ^ "Cortez, Alvarez, Kramer to Air21; Gins get Yancy".
  10. ^ "New lease on life for Rich Alvarez as former Rookie of the Year joins Kia tryouts".
  11. ^ "Pacquiao absent again as KIA Sorentos unveil PBA lineup".
  12. ^ "Baby boy nina Kyla at Rich Alvarez, isinilang na". GMA Network. May 9, 2013.