Don vs Winston (PBA All-Star ’79)

After the 1979 PBA All-Filipino Conference, the four-game All-Star series took place during the third week of July. The Don team were composed of Crispa’s starting five and standouts from Tanduay, U/tex and Great Taste, will go up against the Toyota-powered Winston All-Stars. The winning selection gets P 70,000 and the loser P 30,000.

Their opening match was held at the CYO gymnasium in Davao City. The Dons pulled away by 14 points with seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter on a 13-4 run engineered by Manny Paner, Lim Eng Beng and Atoy Co. Late in the period, the Winstons threatened as Ramon Fernandez, Rudolf Kutch and Francis Arnaiz reeled off six straight points. The count was 121-118 for Don with only 33 seconds left when Atoy Co was fouled by Arnaiz. The Fortune Cookie made both of his free throws which turn out to be the final count, a 123-118 win for Don.

Game two was set in Cebu City. Caloy Loyzaga took over from regular Don coach Baby Dalupan. The Dons had an easier time winning 141-128 as Abet Guidaben pumped in a game high 29 points and hauled down 22 rebounds.

It seemed a lost cause for Winston coach Fort Acuna as the two teams return to Manila in the final two games. Before a fair-sized crowd at the Big Dome that braved the weather to watch the All-Star PBA, the Winstons lost anew, 123-130. The Dons’ series count now stood at 394 points against Winstons’ 369 points. A 25-point lead by the three-time winners.


Four movie stars played in a two-on-two competition to spiced up the P 100,000 Don vs Winston All-Star rumble at the Araneta Coliseum. The winning pair of Janet Bordon and Alma Moreno, wearing the colors of Smirnoff Vodka, gets P 20,000. The losing pair of Beth Bautista and Amy Austria, wearing Terry Brandy, gets P 10,000.

The next night, the last day of the series, when a fired-up Winston selection led by Robert Jaworski went out on six fouls and Fernandez was unable to get back into the game after the first half because of a chill, the Winstons settled for a 10-point victory, 138-128.

The series closed out with a cumulative count of 522 points for the winner Don against the 507 of Winston. A 15-point decision by the Don All-Stars.


Credits: PBA Archives’ facebook account and the above photo from the PBA groups, Toyota and Crispa, P.B.A legends and All-time PBA greats.


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


Purefoods ballclub’ early roots (PABL years)

This blog entry is dedicated to the Purefoods amateur ballclub and to the earliest and original Purefoods players when the Hotdog company decided to joined the Philippine Amateur Basketball League (PABL) in the middle of the 1986 until its final run after two conferences of the 1988 season.

The team was known as Purefoods Food Experts and they absorbed the nucleus of the disbanded Masagana 99 franchise. Of the 14 players, eight are former Ricegrowers. Calling the shots for Purefoods in their very first tournament is Domingo Panganiban (he has been the only coach of Purefoods in the PABL) and assisting him on the bench is Letran coach Eddie Reyes and also part of the coaching staff is Chot Reyes and former pro cager Molet Pineda.


The Food Experts in their second game vs Magnolia

In their inaugural participation, the Food Experts had a strong third place finish behind champion Magnolia and runner-up ESQ Marketing in the PABL second conference called Founders Cup which run through the whole month of August until the second week of September 1986. I recall they had a 3-3 card in the one-round elims among seven teams, beating Fuji Soy Sauce, 87-77, in their first game. Their other two victories were against corporate rivals Countryfair Hotdogs, 110-97, and RFM-Swifts, 86-84, to clinch a semifinals seat. From thereon, the team never came close of finishing into the top four. Overall, the Purefoods amateur ballclub played a total of seven PABL conferences and two National Seniors tournament. As in my previous entry, Purefoods lost to Magnolia in the crossover semis in the ’87 National Seniors in what could have been their only chance to play in a championship.


The 1986 Purefoods roster. In the lineup are Jerry Gonzales, Antonio Cabatana, Salvador Ramos, Ricardo Ignacio, Gil Unera, Cesar Calayag, Anthony Poblador, Pol Manimbo, Aurelio Jalmasco, Loreto Manaog, John Lucas, Demetrio Portosa, George Ella and Enrique Marquez. Seven were inactive during the PABL Invitationals, while Manimbo, Ella and Manaog suited up for Invitational First Conference runner-up Hope Cigarettes and joined Purefoods when the Lucio Tan ballclub disbanded after only one conference. 

Now let’s discuss the players who were part of this team in their three-year PABL stint. Unlike the rich history of their professional ballclub Purefoods Hotdogs in the PBA, there was no real superstars nor members of the men’s national team in the lineup. Two players that deserves worth mentioning for longevity and as the loyal Purefoods cagers in the amateurs are Anthony Poblador and Hermigildo Unera, both are part of the original roster in 1986 and stayed with the Food Experts until 1988. Poblador was drafted by Ginebra in the PBA that year, while Unera two years ago was a top point man for Feati University in the MMUCAA.


Four others which don the Purefoods jersey for three or more conferences were Joel Santos, Roehl Gomez, Julian Rabbi Tomacruz and Edgar Valencia. As anyone can notice, some of these players played in the PBA but never made it big in the pro ranks. The only PBA player who revert back to amateurs and played for Purefoods was Woodrow Balani during the 1987 PABL First Conference.

The 1987 Purefoods roster aside from the seven players already mentioned are Salvador Ramos, Justino Pinat, Rey Yncierto, Larry Villanil, Gerardo Ramos and Guillermo Valerio. Before the start of the 1987 PABL second conference called Freedom Cup, Salvador Ramos and Pinat moved to Lady’s Choice. Purefoods acquired three new players, Elmo Ledesma, another Masagana 99 dribbler and Adamson player, Emmanuel Eleosida, a discovery in the Filipino-Chinese league, and national youth player Romulo Orillosa. In the Maharlika Cup, the Food Experts signed two familiar names in the amateurs that time, Alex Regis and Jake Codamon. Regis is best remembered in the October 17, 1987 game where the Food Experts were down by two points, he was able to hit back-to-back triples in the last 45 seconds as Purefoods escaped with an 80-76 win over Swift Hotdogs (his former team) that has Alvin Patrimonio, Ato Agustin, Boy Cabahug and Glenn Capacio in the lineup. Regis, along with Roehl Gomez and Salvador Ramos are probably the best scorers of the team.


The Purefoods team in the opening of the 1988 PABL season.

In 1988, when the focus of attention among basketball fans were centered on the Purefoods’ glamour team in the PBA, entering as a newcomer in the professional league, the amateur ballclub was somewhat neglected, still, the team had a massive build up at the start of the season. Would you believe that Ateneo Blue Eagles’ Alex Araneta, Eric Reyes and Jun Reyes had a brief stint at Purefoods. They also acquired FEU standouts Andy De Guzman and Jack Tanuan, and UST’s Bobby Jose. So far, the only player to have played with both Purefoods’ PABL and PBA clubs is the late Jack Tanuan, barely two weeks after being signed by the Food Experts, Tanuan was already seen by the ULTRA crowd as the 12th local player of the Hotdogs roster in the PBA. The closest to have come to Tanuan’s distinction is Louie Alas, also came to Purefoods at the same time with Jack, and he was drafted by the Purefoods Hotdogs in the PBA in 1990.

Purefoods coach Ding Panganiban led a breakaway group along with five other teams to bolt out of the PABL after the second conference of that year and tried to form a new league called National Amateur Basketball Association (NABA), eventually after a few months, it fizzled out and this led to the demise of the Purefoods amateur team, although it hardly mattered since the Ayala-owned franchise had bigger fish to fry – and that is to win a PBA championship!

Source: PBA archives, Manila Standard

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Posted by on December 28, 2016 in Philippine Basketball League


1978 PBA Invitational Championship (Part 2)

Now on to the 1978 PBA Invitational finals between defending champion Toyota Tamaraws and first-time finalist Tanduay Esquires. The best-of-five title series as follows:

Game One on December 7 – The match was close for three quarters until the Tamaraws broke away from a 109-all deadlock with a 14-4 run to lead by ten, 123-113, with less than four minutes to go in the final period. Toyota won, 129-123, with Francis Arnaiz topscoring with 31 points and Bruce “Sky” King added 29.


Toyota remains unbeaten by winning Game one, newspaper clippings taken from the National Library of the Philippines.

Game Two on December 9 – Tanduay surprisingly won in a low-scoring game, 92-80. The Esquires led by 15 early in the third quarter, 54-39, a 24-10 counter offensive by Toyota, led by Francis Arnaiz, put them back in the ballgame and were down by only one, 63-64. The Tamaraws played bad all throughout and had an off-night as pointed out by rookie coach Fort Acuna.


Tanduay takes Game two of the best-of-five title series.

Game Three on December 12 – Toyota led by 22 points early, but lost it and Tanduay even grabbed the upperhand in the third quarter. The Esquires led for the last time at 82-81, before a 6-0 run by the Tamaraws, anchored by Ramon Fernandez and Sky King, gave them an 87-82 lead. Toyota outscored Tanduay, 32-26 in the final quarter to win, 128-118, and a 2-1 series lead. Carlos Terry scored 41 points for the Tamaraws, four others scored in double figures for Toyota with Fernandez hitting 28 points, Sky King with 19 and Jaworski and Arnaiz with 18 points apiece. Gene Moore of Tanduay tied Terry’s output by scoring 41 points as well.

Game Four on December 14 – The defending champions Toyota retains the Invitational crown as they took control of the game right from the opening tip-off. The Tamaraws led by 21 after three quarters, 83-62. The Esquires did manage to narrow the gap to ten, 77-87 in the fourth quarter, behind Gene Moore, David Payne and Ricardo Cleofas. Toyota clinch their fifth PBA title in a 108-98 victory and their second championship of the season. Carlos Terry topscored for the Tamaraws with 36 points, followed by Ramon Fernandez with 23 and Sonny Jaworski with 16.

Some Notes:

PBA Annual listings says the winning coach for Toyota in the 1978 Third Conference was Dante Silverio. I think this should be now corrected and that Fort Acuna won two titles for Toyota, unless the Invitational championship the following season was credited to Silverio, who resigned when the finals between Toyota and Crispa was on-going.

Coach Acuna utilizes only 8 men in the last two games of the series, besides the two imports and the big three (Big J, Arnaiz and Fernandez), the other Tamaraws were Abe King, Rino Salazar and Emer Legaspi. In Game 1, Nick Bulaong was fielded in. In Game 2, Estoy Estrada and Jess Sta.Maria did see action.

Crispa scored a 3-0 sweep over U/tex in their battle for third place, winning 107-96, 121-101 and 94-82.

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Posted by on November 17, 2016 in Philippine Basketball Association


1978 PBA Invitational championship (Part 1)

Unlike the previous season where there are two guest foreign squads, the second staging of the PBA Invitational championship in 1978 will feature only the top five teams in the first two conferences. The first part of my blog entry are the single round-robin and how the two finalist; Toyota and Tanduay, made it to the championship. The second part is the best-of-five title series between the two protagonist for the Invitational crown.

The Third Conference of the 1978 PBA season started on November 25. Toyota beat Filmanbank, 131-125, in the first game. Tanduay edges Crispa, 74-73, in the second game which turn out to be the lowest scoring PBA game at that time.

On the third playing date on November 30, Tanduay was 2-0, coming off a win over Filmanbank and were taking on Toyota Tamaraws in the first game. The match went into overtime as league MVP Sonny Jaworski converted two free throws off a foul by Freddie Webb with no time left, forcing extension at 116-all. Toyota won the game, 126-125. U/tex also scored their second straight win by beating winless Filmanbank in the second game.


Research from the National Library. As the story says here, there was confusion on whether Jaworski had to take free throws because the referee did not rule immediately, the Esquires were forced to return to the hardcourt.

Crispa finally scored their first win in the tournament after two straight losses, beating Filmanbank, 118-109, as the All-Filipino runner-up were shut out and didn’t win a single game. Toyota prevail over U/tex in the battle of unbeaten teams in the nightcap.

On December 5, the last scheduled playing date, the U/tex Wranglers and Tanduay Esquires are tied at 2-1 and will play for the other finals seat. The Toyota Tamaraws are already in the finals for the second time in the season. The Tanduay Esquires finally made it to the championship round by winning over U/tex, 98-92, with both imports Gene Moore and David Payne hitting 20 points each. Toyota completed a four-game sweep in the single round by defeating arch rival and already eliminated Crispa, 109-104, in the second game.


Tanduay is in the PBA finals for the first time in four seasons.

Had U/tex won over Tanduay, it would be fitting to see the two champions in the first two conferences played for the season-ending finale, but the Esquires of coach Caloy Loyzaga had other plans.

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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Philippine Basketball Association


PBA flashback ’87: Remembering Ginebra’s 3rd quarter run vs SMB

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 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


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Posted by on November 9, 2016 in Philippine Basketball Association