In the top five wins by Purefoods over Anejo Rum 65, I pick all four during their first season in 1988, excluding Game two of the All-Filipino finals. The following year, the Hotdogs had dominated their rivals during the first two conferences, winning four of their first five meetings with Anejo’s only win, a one-point victory, 112-111 on June 22, in their early clash in the All-Filipino Conference. Anejo scored a 134-123 victory over Purefoods in a no-bearing contest on August 17, 1989, with the Hotdogs and the San Miguel Beermen already in the finals, that game may well be the least attended and less significant match in the Purefoods-Anejo two-year rivalry in the late 1980s.
1. August 18, 1988, All-Filipino Conference, 1st round of the semifinals
Both teams are at first and second place in the team standings, Purefoods was 10-5, scoring two wins in the semifinals but lost to Great Taste in their last game in which the Milkmasters played without the suspended Allan Caidic, Anejo Rum also scored two victories and at 9-5, a win by the 65ers will give them solo leadership. It was a see-saw battle as the scoring by periods says it all, 30-18 for Purefoods in the 1st quarter, 50-48 for Anejo in the 2nd, and 86-77 for Purefoods in the 3rd. In the fourth quarter, the 65ers went up by eight, 100-92, on Dondon Ampalayo’s triple, the hotdogs answered with a 10-2 barrage to level the count at 102-all, back-to-back baskets by Chito Loyzaga and Leo Isaac gave Anejo a 106-102 lead with 58 seconds remaining, Purefoods sued for time and in the hotdogs’ inbound play, Al Solis buried a three-point shot with only seven seconds elapse to push the hotdogs to within 105-106, time down to 51 seconds. Purefoods fans were anticipating a meltdown on Anejo’s next play and true enough, the hotdogs scored the last four points on four free throws by Alvin Patrimonio inside 18 seconds, both from a foul by Anejo playing coach Sonny Jaworski, the 65ers missed their final offensive play as Purefoods completed an amazing 7-0 run in a 109-106 victory.
The TV ratings in the Purefoods-Anejo semifinal game on August 18 soared to a phenomenal high, those were the days when basketball was the favorite pastime of every filipinos.
2. July 12, 1988, All-Filipino Conference, 1st round of eliminations
Their first meeting in the All-Filipino Conference, Purefoods’ prized rookie Alvin Patrimonio was playing only his fourth game in the pro league, another significance in this match is Purefoods assistant coach Cris Calilan, who will debut as their new mentor when Ramon Fernandez decided to gave up his coaching duties to concentrate on his playing chores. As in their four previous encounters during the Open Conference, Anejo, then Ginebra, dominated the first half of action. In this match, the 65ers led by 18 points at halftime, 61-43, highlighted by Jaworski’s behind-the-back pass on Chito Loyzaga, who converted a buzzer-beating triple. Anejo led by as much as 19 points in the third quarter, 73-54, but the hotdogs came back strongly and were trailing by only eight, 75-83, going into the final quarter. Jojo Lastimosa broke the last deadlock at 106-all when he completed a three-point play off a foul from Jaworski with 1:19 to go, which spark a 7-2 Purefoods run for a 113-108 edge, Anejo still has a chance on a goal-tending call with 23 seconds remaining but a split free throw from the hotdogs put the icing of the game, 114-110, as the 65ers missed their final three-point attempt.
3. May 22, 1988, Open Conference, 2nd round of the semifinals
Interestingly, Purefoods and Anejo had three overtime games in the hotdogs’ first season and it all happened during their last match in each of the three conferences. Anejo won the last two which is Game four of the All-Filipino finals and their last encounter in the 1988 season on October 30.
The third-best Purefoods victory was the closest winning margin and the only overtime win over Ginebra in their maiden year. The 111-109 OT victory sent the hotdogs to the Open Conference finals against San Miguel Beer.
4. April 5, 1988, Open Conference, 1st round of eliminations
The first-ever clash will always be in the top five, the hotdogs carved out a 116-110 win after being down by 13 points in the first half. This was their third straight victory in four games into the elimination round after an opening day loss. Ginebra fell to its second defeat in three games.
5. April 4, 1989, Open Conference, 2nd round of eliminations
The only Purefoods win over Anejo in my list that I choose in the hotdogs’ second season in the league. This was the largest winning margin (16 points) by any of these two rivals in 25 meetings from 1988-1989.
The two teams were down at the cellar, Purefoods has two wins and five losses while Anejo has only one win to show in seven outings and in danger of missing the semifinals, they have lost five in a row and has yet to win a ballgame since their import Darren Queenan arrived. This game is best remembered for the incident involving the Big J and Jolas at some point in the final quarter. In a slow-mo replay, it appeared Jojo Lastimosa might have tripped the Anejo playing coach, causing him to fall down and during the inbound play, the Big J sneaked in a punch on Lastimosa that was uncalled for, the punching foul committed by Jaworski earned him a suspension in Anejo’s next game. The hotdogs played well with Pido Jarencio providing the needed baskets coming off the bench in a 131-115 victory that put the 65ers on a brink of elimination.