On this day 29 years ago on November 10, 1987, only few PBA fans or probably no one remembers this anymore, the Ginebras’ amazing comeback from 20 points down against San Miguel Beer in the third quarter to tie the count with still over two minutes left before the end of the third period. No, this is not one of those articles about Ginebra’s comeback wins. For the record, they fell short and lost this match in the end, 113-129, as the Beermen continued its dominance over their now sister team, (it was around the middle of the year when SMC bought out La Tondena) winning for the 17th time in 19 meetings!
A quick look at this new-found rivalry early on, there wasn’t anything noticable, but fans soon begin to realize that San Miguel (then Magnolia Ice Cream) is fast becoming a “Contra-Pelo” of the league’s most popular squad. After two conferences, the count was 14 to 2 for Magnolia. The Ginebras’ two victories, a 97-91 win in Game two of the battle for third place, they even trailed by 15 points at the start of the fourth period, and a 93-92 overtime victory at the start of the semifinals of the All-Filipino Conference. Magnolia did have close victories over Ginebra as well.
In the third conference with Magnolia, now returning to their old name San Miguel Beer, and Ginebra, clash in the main game on opening night as PBA fans anticipated the first meeting between beermen import Bobby Parks and Ginebra’s Billy Ray Bates, plus the return of “skywalker” Samboy Lim in the regular conference. San Miguel won the match, 123-113. Their second meeting in the eliminations on October 22, the beermen repeated with a 121-115 win. I recall Ginebra came within a point in the last two minutes but folded up anew. It was now 16 to 2 for the beermen.
Now here is the featured game in my blog that I first posted on Gameface.ph and taken from the Champ magazine dated November 24, 1987.
In the nightcap of Tuesday’s double-header, San Miguel Beer hoped to reassert its supremacy over Ginebra, the beermen had won all but two in their battles this season.
The Ginebras started cold and this enabled Norman Black’s boys to establish a 22-8 advantage behind the scoring of Bobby Parks and MVP leading candidate Abet Guidaben. The first quarter ended with Ginebras still down by 16, 22-38. (I recall Parks hit a buzzer-beating triple that silence the crowd, Ginebra trailed 10-30, when they narrow the gap to 13 points)
The pace of the contest did not change as the Soriano ballclub refused to let go of their formidable lead. Just a few seconds before the game clock flashing 1:21, Sonny Jaworski tripped a driving Parks which sent the American on all fours. A deliberate foul was slapped on Jaworski and a brief exchange of words followed between him and Parks. The first half ended with San Miguel still up by 18, 69-51.
With the score standing at 77-57, still for the beermen, Jaworski stole the thunder away from the Americans. He scored 16 straight points for Ginebra, 12 of them coming from three point shots to narrow the gap to 12, 73-85.
Another 14-2 explosion by Ginebra, this time starring Billy Ray Bates, forced the beermen into a standoff, 87-all, 2:40 left in the third. Now, the beermen started going to Parks, who was being guarded by greenhorn Harmon Codinera. Parks made eight of the last 10 points of San Miguel for the quarter which ended at 97-93 for San Miguel.
Parks resumed his good offensive game in the fourth as he teamed up with Guidaben and Yves Dignadice to erect another double-digit advantage, 110-99. It was only Bates doing everything for the Ginebras as they seemed to be all spent up trying to catch up with their younger opponents.
San Miguel Beer’s locals took centerstage in the latter half of the last period, Samboy Lim regained his bearings, capping his last-minute heroics with an unbelievable 35-foot jumper that swished the cords. (yes, I remember that, after Samboy just crossed the midcourt line, he got a pass, turnaround and threw the ball that went in, and the crowd roared, most of whom were headed towards the exits).
The final score stood at 129-113 for San Miguel Beer.
I think this was the dunk by Bates that tied the count at 87-all, from what I recall seeing on TV.
Why I say this game deserves to be worth remembering? where else can we find a 41-year old living legend scoring his team’s 16 consecutive points in a span when they were making a comeback run, I remember fans at the special ringside seats were all standing when Big J was hitting those treys, also, this was the game the mild-mannered and level-headed Bobby Parks lost his cool when he crashed on the floor on a deliberate foul by Jaworski and Big J was issued a warning for dangerous play. Parks, who was chosen best player of the game, said in an interview that he was already up in the air for a layup and Jaworski kicked his legs, Parks was quoted “Man, this is not basketball.” And as taken from the Champ magazine story, It was on this same game when Abet Guidaben had the ball in the backcourt and Jaworski was harassing him and he suddenly fell to the floor with blood flowing from his right eyebrow. Perhaps to this day, only Big J and Abet knew what had happen on that play.
Yes, this game had all the drama and action, 12 days after on November 22, San Miguel and Ginebra played for the fourth time in the conference. Ginebra finally scored a convincing victory over their sister team, a 143-121 win as Billy Ray Bates tied his personal-best of 71 points he registered in their first outing in the semifinals against Shell two weeks ago.
The scores: (taken from Manila Standard)
San Miguel (129) – Parks 63, Lim 16, Calma 16, Guidaben 13, Dignadice 12, Reyes 7, Teng 2, Cui 0, Yturri 0.
Ginebra (113) – Bates 54, Jaworski 23, C.Loyzaga 15, Codinera 6, Distrito 5, Isaac 4, Advani 2, Carbonilla 2, Gonzalgo 2, Ducut 0.
Quarterscores: 38-22, 69-51, 97-93, 129-113