As a follow up to my blog entry Toyota vs Emtex Sacronels, the two teams that played in the finals of the 1977 PBA Third Conference Invitational Championship, let’s now talk about how the two finalist made it to the championship round.
The Toyota Tamaraws started off with a whooping 167-134 win over Presto Ice Cream on December 1, as Bruce “Sky” King erased the previous individual scoring high of 64 set by Danny Florencio of Seven-Up with a 72-point explosion. The Tams also made a record with the highest winning score for the season. After Presto, the Tamaraws scored their second win against Tanduay, 122-114. The Esquires upset the Aussie Panthers, 94-85, on opening day on November 30.
Toyota took on arch rivals Crispa on the next day and won by nine points, 118-109, with Sky King and John Irving combining for 61 points and Francis Arnaiz piled up 29 points. For their fourth victim, the Tamaraws defeated Open Conference runner-up U/tex, 131-114. Win number five came against the Mariwasa Hondas with the Tams pulling off a 143-139 overtime win. As in my previous blog, the Tamaraws split their last two meetings against the two foreign entries, losing to Emtex of Brazil for their first loss in the tournament and winning over Aussie Panthers to wrapped up their first trip to the finals since December of ’76.
The Emtex Sacronels or Palmeiras, the visiting Brazilian ballclub, were up against the Presto Ice Cream in their first Manila appearance and they lost, 128-133, luckily for the Brazilians, they were earlier declared winners by default as a consequence of Presto’s failure to field a completely uniformed team by gametime.
In their second game with 30,000 fans on hand at the Big Dome to watch Crispa vs Toyota in the nightcap, the Brazilians won by 11 points over the other foreign outfit from Australia, 111-100. U/tex and Mariwasa, the two teams which finished second in the two previous conference, fell to the boys from Brazil, the Sacronels toppled the Wranglers, 108-101, and rout the Hondas, 150-118. The next day, they whipped Tanduay, 111-100, to tie the Tamaraws with five straight victories.
The Brazilians completed a seven-game, elimination round sweep by defeating Crispa, 106-99, on the final playing date on December 13. The Redmanizers, whose string of six straight titles, were finally dethroned as champions when Toyota earlier won against Ramrod of Australia, thus avoiding any possible playoff match with Crispa if the Redmanizers win against Emtex later that evening.
Oscar Schmidt, Milton Setrini and Ubiratan Maciel
Source: PBA Archives