Category Archives: National Seniors

1986 National Open and Masagana 99’s graceful exit

The 1986 National Open basketball championships started on March 12 at the Rizal Coliseum. There were earlier talks about Masagana 99’s non-participation in the most prestigious basketball tournament. This would have meant kissing goodbye hopes of achieving a grand slam in the said meet. For the past two years, the Ricegrowers have dominated this tournament, they beat Bank of Rizal in 1984 and ESQ Merchants in 1985 for the title. Interestingly, those two teams beat Masagana 99 for the PABL championship in the first two conferences of the 1984 season.

Masagana 99 could have won three-in-a-row if not for the BAP rules of the tourney back in 1983 when the National Open and National Invitational were held simultaneously. The Ricegrowers swept all its assignments against local teams, it dealt De La Salle University a 75-71 defeat but lost out to the Green Archers via quotient system. La Salle was declared the 1983 National Open champion because of a victory against a foreign participant, Taiwan’s Flying Camels, which proved to be the deciding factor as all three teams finished with 3-2 won-loss slates.

For the 1986 Open tournament, there are 19 teams seeing action but so far, only 8 as of my research are confirmed to have participated, aside from Masagana 99 and sister team Maisagana 77, the rest includes Rizal Athletic Club, Metro Manila Colleges, Letran Knights, RFM-Swifts, Spencer-RTW and the highlight of this tournament, the return of the fabled Crispa Redmanizers in the basketball scene after a one-year absence.


The returning Crispa team, coached by Arturo Valenzona. The new Redmanizers includes Ato Agustin, Eric Altamirano, Glenn Capacio, Edgar Tanuan and Adriano Polistico.

Masagana 99, hit by player exodus at the start of the year but is known for its capacity to build up, pocketed their third straight national seniors title in three years, maintaining their supremacy. In their final game against Rizal Athletic Club witnessed by an appreciative crowd, most of which were employees of the Agriculture Ministry, the Ricegrowers blew away the Rizalians (three scores were given, 100-82, 100-83 and 101-80) which had Cesar Calayag, Ronnie Magsanoc and Junel Baculi in the lineup.

And so it was a graceful exit for Deputy Minister and Masagana 99 director and coach Domingo Panganiban along with his coaching staff (Egay Gomez, Nemie Villegas, etc), the oldest amateur ballclub at that time exits on a high note. This mark the end of another chapter in the history of amateur basketball in the country.


Among the Masagana 99 players who were part of the 1986 National Open champion team are Leo Isaac, Jeffrey Graves, young star in a making-Pol Manimbo, George Ella, national player Elmer Reyes, Loreto Manaog, John Lucas, SSC’s Eton Navarro and FEU’s Romancito Roa.

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Posted by on March 12, 2017 in National Seniors


YCO Painters’ last 3 National Seniors title (1977-1979)

Basketball history records says the famed YCO Athletic Club were the National Open (or National Seniors) champions from 1954-1960 and again in 1967-1968 after halting their rival Ysmael Steel Admirals’ own run from 1961-1966.

In the 1977 National Seniors which started on May 31, 1977 at the Rizal Coliseum. There were 34 teams that participated and at the end of the tournament, the YCO Painters, under coach Ed Ocampo, regains the prestigious crown. The Painters defeated defending champion San Miguel Braves, 101-96, in the final contest. The tourney’s top eight teams in the order of finish; YCO, San Miguel, Sunrice, Crown Motors, Yanmar, Manilabank, Philippine Air Force and Solid Mills.

The members of the champion Painters are Jaime Manansala, Joseph Herrera, Abe Monzon, Totoy Gagan, Alex Tan, Gregorio Gozum, Pablo Ocampo, Ben Brillantes, Nathaniel Castillo, William Johnston, Ely Capacio, Ramoncito Bugia, Eric Illustre and Mateo Kierulf.


The 1978 edition of the National Seniors had the YCO Painters acquiring the services of 6-8 Bonifacio de Jesus, the tallest amateur cager and Nilo Cruz from the disbanded Manilabank. The top six teams who will play in the final round after the 12-team semis were YCO, Yanmar, Solid Mills, Frigidaire, ITM and Romago Electric Company. Eliminated from the championship round were San Beda, UP, FEU-Glenmore, JRC-ACB, San Miguel and Sunrice.


The YCO Painters retains the National Seniors crown, winning against coach Nat Canson’s Frigidaire that has the likes of Joel Banal, Federico Lauchengco, Eduardo Merced, Rafael Sison, Leopoldo Herrera, Rolly Pineda, Ramon Cruz and Joey Marquez. Frigidaire (then Crown) has the same lineup that placed fourth in the previous National tourney, the only addition was Amadeo Sagarbarria, formerly of Manilabank.


The year 1979 saw the YCO Painters made it three in a row, winning the National Seniors title for the third straight time in a tournament that featured the debuting APCOR Financiers (soon to be the winningest amateur ballclub) and Summa Kumagai (which won the Interclub Invitationals later that year).

After more than a month of elimination games at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum. 10 teams have advanced into the semifinals, led by defending champion YCO Painters, the other teams that enter the semis were Builders Choice, Frigidaire, Masagana 99, Yanmar, Imperial Textile Mills, Solidenims, Kamayan, San Miguel and Letran.

The Painters had won the MICAA crown earlier and went on to toppled the American-laden Yanmar (coach by Boy Cantada), 110-104, on May 23 at the Rizal Coliseum. The team were unbeaten in the tournament and this time around, the Painters were handled by coach Freddie Webb. YCO was once again the country’s number one amateur basketball team. Their victory party were held at the Architectural Center in Makati.


YCO wins their third straight National Seniors crown. The multi-titled ballclub in the MICAA and National tournament, after more than 3 decades, disbanded at the end of the 1980 season.

Photos and Article credits to PBA Archives’ facebook account.

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Posted by on February 6, 2017 in National Seniors


The 1987 National Seniors tournament

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

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Posted by on October 31, 2016 in National Seniors


1976 National Seniors Cage tourney

14 teams made up of two semifinal groups, with six being seeded into the penultimate round.

Group X – newly-crowned MICAA champion Manilabank, Imperial Textile Mills, San Beda-PRCI, Crispa, the defending champions which entered the tourney with a lineup composed mostly of ‘Palarong Pambansa’ standouts, Mama’s Love, the only team from the South, Universe Health Palace, another provincial team coming from Angeles City, and Constellation Ships.

Group Y – Villar Records, Crown Motors, San Miguel Corporation, MICAA runner-up YCO Painters, Concepcion Industries, Talon Zipper, and UST, the only collegiate team in the tournament.

The six teams which entered the magic six were: SMC, YCO, ITM, Manilabank, Crispa and Villar.

The San Miguel Corporation, coach by Gabby Fajardo, earn its second major title in three years via clean sweep of the championship round of six. The Braves suffered their only loss to lowly Talon cagers, who didn’t make the final round.


Members of the champion team were: Esteban Henares, Heracleo Pidor (skipper), Jose Fresnoza, Manuel Martinez, Ernesto Dionisio, Romeo Santos, prize-rookie Marty Tierra, Moises Cunanan, Paulino Velasco, Porfirio Rodriguez, Napoleon Burcelis, Cesar Bauto, Roberto Santiago, Herminio Kalaw and Adolfo Calaycay.


The last time SMC took a title was in 1973, when the team were spearheaded by then amateur standouts Manny Paner, Dave Regullano, Rollie Marcelo, Estoy Estrada, Yoyong Martirez and Alejandrito Miego. Three hot rookies helped the team in bagging the seniors crown; Ramon Fernandez, fresh from his stint with the youth team in the ABC Youth Championship, collegiate standout Norbie Rivera and Jimmy Otazu.

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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in National Seniors