There were 16 teams that participated in the 1987 edition of the prestigious National Seniors basketball championship that took place from April 21-May 6, 1987.
Group A – Newly-crowned PICAA champion Newton Engineering, Philippine Maritime Institute, PABL ballclub Purefoods, and Meralco, known as MIESCOR, celebrating its return to big time basketball following a 15-year absence.
Group B – PABL’s Magnolia Juice Drinks, NCAA runner up San Sebastian Stags, San Beda and Central Colleges of the Philippines.
Group C – PABL teams Lhuillier-Converse and Sta.Lucia, PICAA All-stars and Metro Manila Colleges.
Group D – NCAA champion Letran Knights, Newly-crowned PABL International Cup champion RFM-Swift’s, University of Baguio and a Makati selection.
As expected, the commercial ballclubs scored lopsided wins against the lightweights, some of the biggest winning margin includes Lhuillier’s 138-82 rout of MMC and Swift’s 132-84 win over Makati on April 22. Purefoods scored an easy 133-86 win against Newton and blasted PMI, 138-88. Sta.Lucia also had two lopsided victories, 118-77 against PICAA stars, and 111-64 over MMC.
On the final day of the round-robin in each group on April 27, the 8 undefeated teams battled it out, RFM-Swift’s surprisingly had a hard time against NCAA champion Letran, winning 113-112, as the Knights’ Fernando Libed scored 33 points. Magnolia had an easier time against NCAA runner up San Sebastian, 117-64. Sta.Lucia beat Lhuillier, 101-94, and Purefoods nip Miescor, 81-79.
The top-seeded team from Group A and C (Purefoods and Sta.Lucia) were joined by the 2nd-seeded from Group B and D (SSC and Letran) in another round-robin. Miescor, Lhuillier, Magnolia and Swift were in another group. The Purefoods Food Makers (3-0), with the likes of Roehl Gomez, Salvador Ramos, Rey Yncierto, Justino Pinat, Anthony Poblador, Julian Tomacruz, Larry Villanil, Unera and Valencia, remains unbeaten with their six straight victory and earn top seed in the knockout semifinals, Sta.Lucia (2-1) finish at number 2. The other two semifinalist were Lhuillier (2-1) and Magnolia (2-1), which knock off RFM-Swift’s, 116-103, as Jong Uichico topscored for the Juice Drinks with 31 points.
In the crossover, knockout semifinals on May 4, Magnolia finally ended Purefoods’ winning run with a 101-89 victory. Lhuillier clobbered Sta.Lucia, 123-91. Former PBA import Darryl Smith scored 34 points for the Jewelers. The first two PABL champions from last season; Lhuillier and Magnolia, will play for the National Seniors basketball championship.
Lhuillier-Converse were coached by Raul Alcoseba and the roster besides Smith includes Jojo Lastimosa, Peter Jao, Peter Aguilar, Jesus Ramirez, Francisco Navarro, Leoncio Tan, Jojo’s brother Danny Lastimosa, and ex-pros Jess Migalbin and Tata Merced. Magnolia under coach Derrick Pumaren, had Jerry Codinera, Nelson Asaytono, Jong Uichico, Benjie Gutierrez, Dindo Pumaren, Joey Santamaria, Richard Bachmann and former pro Rudy Distrito in their lineup.
In the championship game on May 6, the Jewelers outplayed their rivals and led by as many as 20 points and coasted to a 90-82 victory over Magnolia, and captured their second major title in the Metro Manila cage tournament. Sta.Lucia Realtors, behind Tony dela Cerna, Gido Babilonia, Jojo Martin, Nani Demigillo, Louie Alas and Edgar Macaraya, took third place with a 99-90 win over Purefoods.
And so we have the new National Seniors champion Lhuillier-Converse, after the three-year reign (1984-1986) of the now defunct Masagana 99 squad, which went to oblivion months after the EDSA Revolution.
Some of the scoring records in the two-week tourney were the 45 points by Darryl Smith in Lhuillier’s 111-115 overtime loss to RFM-Swift’s on April 29, in which the Hotdogs got 34 points from Boy Cabahug. Letran’s Fernando Libed scored 43 points in the Knights’ 103-90 win over University of Baguio on April 23, and Miescor’s Jojo Villapando, although its not clear how many points he scored.
Source: Manila Standard