Monthly Archives: January 2015

Mariwasa-Honda’s first and only PBA finals trip

The first conference of the 1977 PBA season, the All-Filipino, saw the Mariwasa-Honda Panthers, coach by Tito Eduque and led by American Billy Robinson and the Rifleman Jun Papa, finally ended the string of Crispa-Toyota championship clashes for six straight conferences. How the Panthers were able to do it. Let’s take a look at the results of their games during the elimination round and how they enter into the finals against last season’s Grandslam champions Crispa Redmanizers.

First Round – Mariwasa won over Tanduay, 115-105; Seven-Up, 105-97; U-Tex, 136-130; Toyota, 145-126. They lost to Royal, 95-113; Presto, 120-130; and Crispa, 116-118.

Second Round – Mariwasa won over Seven-Up, 146-137; Royal, 152-126, in the game Jun Papa scored the highest output by a local player so far with 59 points (later broken by Danny Florencio’s 64 points in the same year), Toyota, 109-103; and Crispa, 115-97, in their last game in the elimination round where the Panthers handed the Redmanizers their first loss after going unbeaten at 13-0 in the eliminations (Crispa was coming off a 16-game winning streak dating back to the last three games of the ’76 All-Philippine championship). Mariwasa’s losses in the second round came against Tanduay, 135-136; Presto, 130-141; and U-Tex in overtime, 125-128.

Mariwasa finish the double-round eliminations with an 8-6 won-loss record, behind the other three semifinalist; Crispa (13-1), Tanduay and Toyota, both with 9 wins 5 losses. In the double-round semifinals, after four playing dates, Crispa remain unbeaten at 4-0, winning over Mariwasa, 119-117, that put the Panthers on a brink at 1-3. Tanduay nip Toyota, 110-109, to place second at 2-2. The Tamaraws were tied with the Panthers and also in danger of being ousted from the finals race.

On July 12, Mariwasa sealed the first non Crispa-Toyota finals showdown by eliminating the Tamaraws, 121-114, as Billy Robinson scored 56 points. Crispa march to its fifth straight win in the semifinals by beating Tanduay. In the last playing date on July 14, both Mariwasa and Tanduay were tied with 2 wins and 3 losses, the Panthers beat the Distillers, 116-112, for their first trip to the PBA finals.

Eventually, Mariwasa-Honda lost to powerhouse Crispa in their best-of-five championship series in four games as the Redmanizers won their fifth straight title. The Panthers were easily beaten in Game one, 121-141, with Atoy Co and Freddie Hubalde scoring 37 and 31 points for the Redmanizers. Mariwasa tied the series at one game apiece with a 123-116 win in Game two, with Billy Robinson scoring 51 points and dominated the boards with the absence of suspended Philip Cezar in the Crispa lineup. The Redmanizers won the third game and they finish off the Panthers with a 139-128 win in Game four. The consolation for Mariwasa-Honda is that they were the only team to have given the Redmanizers their only two losses in the conference.


Mariwasa played for six more seasons in the PBA as Honda, Finance and Galerie Dominique and never came close of making it to the finals again until the team disbanded by the end of the 1983 PBA season.

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Posted by on January 11, 2015 in Philippine Basketball Association


The U/Tex Wranglers’ first PBA championship in 1978

In the 1978 PBA Open Conference, the U/tex Wranglers became the first team to break the monopoly of Crispa and Toyota as far as winning championships. The Wranglers, under coach Tommy Manotoc, originally had Byron “Snake” Jones and Henry Williams as their imports at the start of the second conference. Williams was replaced by Glenn McDonald, a member of the 1976 NBA champion Boston Celtics, midway through the first round of eliminations.

After the double-round eliminations, the four semifinalist were U/tex, Crispa 400s, Tanduay and Toyota. The Wranglers finish with a 10-4 card, going 4-3 in the first round and 6-1 in the second round. Two of U/tex’ losses in the first round were against Tanduay, 113-116 in OT, in┬áthe opening of the second conference on July 30, and to Honda, 92-104. Their only loss in the second round was against Toyota, 113-117, as the Tamaraws avenged their 123-132 loss to U/tex in the first round. The Wranglers proved to be Crispa’s nemesis as they beat the 400s twice in the eliminations.

The first playing date of the semifinal round saw U/tex winning over Tanduay, 106-96, and in the main game, the Crispa 400s made it 3-0 over Toyota in their match-up this conference with a 136-123 win.

Crispa and U/tex made it 2-0 in their won-loss card, the 400s beat the Tanduay Esquires, 114-106. The rampaging Wranglers beat Toyota, 117-103. On the third playing date of the first round, the Tamaraws beat the Esquires, 130-128, with Carlos Terry scoring 36 points. U/tex completed a first round sweep with a win over Crispa in the second game.

At the start of the second round, the U/tex Wranglers assured themselves of at least a playoff for a finals berth with their fourth straight victory, a 100-98 squeaker over winless Tanduay as Glenn McDonald scored a high 52 points. The Toyota Tamaraws finally won over Crispa, 130-119, to tie their rivals at 2-win, 2-loss.

U/tex scored a 108-105 overtime win over Toyota to remain unbeaten in the semifinals as McDonald poured in 51 points. Crispa routs Tanduay, 121-104, to moved a game ahead over Toyota. In the last scheduled day of the semifinal round on November 7, the Wranglers, already in the finals, deliberately lose their game against Crispa and the 400s took the second finals seat as both teams will play in a rematch of last year’s championship in this same conference. Toyota guard Sonny Jaworski criticize the Wranglers for losing the match which eliminated the Tamaraws, hoping to gain a tie and a playoff with Crispa had U/tex played their hearts out. The Tamaraws lost to Tanduay later that night that dropped their won-loss record to 2-4, while the Esquires (1-5) scored their first win in the semifinals.

In the Championship series, the U/tex Wranglers scored a 3-0 sweep over Crispa, which had Ansley Truitt and Paul Mills as their imports. U/tex won Game 1 by one point, 95-94, and Game 2, 100-93. In the title-clincher on November 14, Glenn McDonald scored 40 points as the Wranglers moved out of trouble in the final two minutes of a 104-96 victory, for their first-ever PBA crown and avenged their last season’s 3-2 loss to the same Crispa Redmanizers.

Toyota similarly scored a 3-0 sweep over Tanduay in their series for third place. Bruce “Sky” King topscored with 27 points in a 129-113 victory in Game 1. Francis Arnaiz scored 34 points in Toyota’s 134-130 win in Game 2, with Esquires’ Joy Cleofas hitting 33 points for the losers. Toyota went on to defeat Tanduay, 143-132 in overtime in Game 3, to capture third place honors.

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Posted by on January 7, 2015 in Philippine Basketball Association