What are the top five wins against each other between these two PBA rivals; Anejo Rum 65 (formerly Ginebra San Miguel) and Purefoods Hotdogs, during their great rivalry in the last two seasons of the 1980s era. In 1988, Ginebra/Anejo won nine of their 14 meetings with Purefoods, excluding the All-Filipino final playoffs, the Rum Masters won six as against four for the Hotdogs. The following year in 1989, Purefoods has the edge, six to five. So the count would be 11-10 for Anejo Rum (14 to 11 overall for Anejo).
Now I’ll talk about the five best wins by Anejo over Purefoods and as stated, I won’t include the 1988 All-Filipino finals where the 65ers prevailed, 3 games to 1, since its no-brainer the title-clinching Game four victory would easily top the list and the third game of the title playoffs will make it as well in the top five. Also, I’ll discuss Purefoods’ five best wins over Anejo too in their first two seasons in the PBA.
1. November 21, 1989, Reinforced Conference, 2nd round of the semifinals
Having seen so many incredible comebacks by Ginebra San Miguel from the time when the Big J first became the team’s playing-coach in 1985, this semifinal game has to be in the top 20 of all-time that truly characterized the never-say-die spirit of the team, Anejo Rum needs to win their last two assignments to keep their finals hopes alive and avail the 5-of-8 semis incentive, the 65ers survived their previous game against Alaska in overtime and carrying an 8-8 won-loss slate. Purefoods was 10-6 and a victory will arrange another title-clash with Grandslam-seeking San Miguel Beermen.
The 65ers were down by 13 points in the fourth quarter and with 21 seconds left in the game, the hotdogs still up, 134-130, on Alvin Patrimonio’s short stab, the Rum Masters refuses to give up and after a timeout and quick two points, import Carlos Briggs played the hero’s role when he stole the ball from Dindo Pumaren with 18 seconds to go and completed a three-point play off a foul by Jojo Lastimosa, Briggs, who scored 75 points, converted his gift shot with 8 seconds remaining to cap a stirring comeback as Dexter Shouse and Dindo Pumaren missed on their hurried attempt as time expired in a dramatic 135-134 victory for Jaworski’s charges. After this game, Purefoods import Dexter Shouse deserted his ballclub and was banned permanently by the league.
Even the Big J said it here in his weekly column “T’was a game to remember, I myself would not forget how we beat Purefoods.”
2. November 26, 1989, Reinforced Conference, Sudden-death playoff for the right to face San Miguel Beer in the finals
The last three years of the 1980s era had Anejo or Ginebra figured in three memorable playoff matches for the second finals berth. In 1987 Third Conference, they lost to Hills Bros (formerly Alaska), In 1988 All-Filipino Conference, they beat San Miguel on Romulo Mamaril’s buzzer-beater which Jaworski described as “God’s play”. In this playoff game, almost everyone concedes that Anejo is going to win, what with Purefoods playing without an import, but the hotdogs fought gallantly in losing to Anejo again by one point. Dante Gonzalgo converted his two free throws off a foul to give the 65ers a one-point lead. Dindo Pumaren missed a 16-footer from the top of the key on the hotdogs’ last offensive with four seconds to go, allowing the 65ers to escape in a 113-112 victory.
Aftermath of the Anejo-Purefoods KO game, their last match in the 1980s decade had fans from both teams got into a fight among themselves.
This is what endeared the never-say-die team of playing coach Sonny Jaworski to the masses, their games were a thriller with blood, guts and glory.
My memory on this photo file of the Captain and the Big J happen during the crucial stages of their sudden-death playoff, after Patrimonio missed an easy layup, he was so upset and Jaworski went to him to say some words of wisdom or piece of advice. In the article above, the one that played big for the hotdogs in this game was rookie point guard Dindo Pumaren.
3. April 24, 1988, Open Conference, 2nd round of eliminations
The PBA’s most popular ballclub was still known as Ginebra San Miguel in number three on my list. As previously been discussed, the Ginebras got back at their first round tormentors with the living legend Sonny Jaworski providing the best plays to pull Ginebra out of trouble whenever the Hotdogs launch a comeback. Before their match, the hotdogs were coming off an unimpressive, come-from-behind win over Great Taste and were upset by winless Shell Helix before that. On the other hand, Ginebra was riding high on a four-game roll.
4. October 24, 1989, Reinforced Conference, 2nd round of eliminations
Anejo was on a three-game winning streak and with a 4-3 won-loss card, Purefoods was on top of the standings at six wins and one loss. Two nights before, Carlos Briggs scored 70 points in Anejo’s 143-137 win over Shell and was taunting Dexter Shouse that night, who was sitting near the commissioner’s row. Anejo led 36-24 late in the first quarter but the hotdogs answered with a 13-0 blast to take the upperhand, 37-36, after 12 minutes of play. Purefoods went up by 10 points at halftime, 78-68. In the third quarter, the 65ers battled back and grab the lead, 113-112.
Going into the final period, it was very close until the last two minutes of the game when Purefoods just lost its composure on the referees’ call and the game ended on Carlos Briggs’ two-handed slam for a final 150-137 count for Anejo. Briggs hit 9 three-point shots in this game and finished with 64 points while his counterpart Dexter Shouse tallied 50 points.
I recall Purefoods coach Baby Dalupan was furious after the game pinpointing at the referees and as he said it here, he blamed the faulty officiating.
5. October 30, 1988, Reinforced Conference, 2nd round of eliminations
My fifth choice, also in the second round of eliminations of the third conference a year before, was as exciting game as number 4 in the list, never mind import Joe Ward’s antics and over-acting, kneeling and praying before and after the game. The first meeting in the third conference between the two ballclubs saw Billy Ray Bates won his final PBA game as the hotdogs played with only one import. In this halloween treat, Anejo was on a two-game win streak at 3-5 while Purefoods were 1-6. The 65ers’ imports were Joe Ward and Tommy Davis and the hotdogs’ imports were Perry Young and Kenny Travis, who led the hotdogs to their first victory against Alaska last October 23. In a classic overtime thriller, Anejo won 157-150, and the 65ers not only ended Purefoods’ great run in their first season but also newly-acquired center Abet Guidaben’s hopes of winning back-to-back MVPs. Anejo seemingly had the game wrapped up in regulation, leading 143-139 in the dying seconds but Al Solis connected a clutch triple to trimmed the lead to one and Jerry Codinera’s two free throws tied the count at 144-all, the hotdogs had the final possesion in the last seven seconds but Al Solis muffed his three-point attempt, forcing extension.