Billy Ray Bates against the 10 top PBA imports he played with (Part 2)

The second part of course will not include Billy Ray Bates’ partner and teammate at Ginebra, Michael Hackett. And as I mentioned in the first part, I will exclude Billy Ray’s four-game stint in the 1988 Reinforced third conference. That means Alaska’s then sensational import Willie Bland, who scored 65 points against Bates, will not be on the list. So here are the best imports that Billy Ray went up with while playing for Ginebra San Miguel.

Michael Young (Manila Beer)

When talking about Billy Ray Bates’ stint with Ginebra, expect that PBA fans will mentioned Michael Young of Manila Beer. The count was seven wins for Bates and one win for Young, who won the best import award in the 1986 third conference over Bates. In the first meeting between Ginebra and Manila Beer on October 7, 1986, both teams were unbeaten with three wins each, there was one sequence in the third quarter when Billy Ray’s triple was answered by Young’s own three-pointer at the other end, and when Young went high up for a follow-up, one-handed dunk after a Brewmasters’ miss, the ULTRA crowd were so delighted and the Manila Beer bench were up on their seats. Bates and Hackett had the last laugh in the end on Ginebras’ 16-3 run late in the fourth period after being down by nine. The highlight of the endgame was when Atoy Co missed an easy layup on a fastbreak when Ginebra went ahead, 110-109. (On why there are no recorded videos or existing games of Ginebra-Manila Beer and Ginebra-Tanduay match in the ’86 Open) Bates and Hackett mocked the Brewmasters by jumping with high fives and Billy even got his own rebound after he missed his second free throw for a 113-109 count at the buzzer. I remember the commentators were saying “it was like a championship.” Bates was outscored by Hackett for the first time in four games, finishing with 44 points to Hackett’s 47, while Young scored 57 points for the Brewmasters.

Their second round match-up in the elimination round was a no-bearing game as both teams already clinch a semifinal slot. Ginebra and Manila Beer only met once in the semis as their last outing was no longer played to prepare both teams to the finals. In their semifinal game on November 20, it was Ginebra who led this time late in the fourth quarter, 110-100, when the Brewmasters battled back and Young tied the count at 114-all with his triple. After a Ginebra turnover, Manila Beer coach Tito Eduque decided to call his final timeout for one last play, incidentally, it was Hackett, who stole the ball from Michael Young and was dribbling fast and pushed by Young and Hackett crashes all the way to the special ringside seats with about two or three seconds left in the game. After a delay for a few minutes when officials check on Hackett, he split his foul shots, converting the second free throw for a final 115-114 tally, Young from way too far, threw an airball at the buzzer. Bates scored 38 points while Young scored less with 36. Hackett got his 31st marker on that lone, winning free throw.

The championship series, which went 4-1 in Ginebra’s favor, had two buzzer-beaters, Bates’ dunk in Game one and Hackett’s lucky prayer of a shot that forces the first overtime in Game four. Each time, the Manila Beer Brewmasters were on a verge of winning the game in regulation.

Rob Williams (Tanduay Rhum)

No import match-up is more intense than when Bates was pitted against that season’s first conference best import Rob Williams, who earlier led Tanduay to their first championship. In another highly-anticipated game on October 12, 1986, the Rhum Makers deal the Ginebras its first loss in the tournament after four straight victories, 114-109. Rob Williams shot 52 points for Tanduay while Bates scored 39 points for Ginebra. I recall when Ginebra was having a run early in the fourth and were leading by six-seven points, Rob Williams hit a three-pointer plus a foul, which turn the game around in Tanduay’s favor. The Black Superman was said to be angry on the loss (BRB never lost to the Tanduay team during his Crispa days) and was quote in the October 30-November 5, 1986 issue of Sports Flash Magazine prior to Ginebra’s second meeting with Tanduay on November 2, that he bowed to get back at Tanduay and told Sports Flash “I’m still the best. Rob Williams is so fat he will not be able to control me. The question is whether Williams can play 48 minutes against the No.1 import in the PBA,”

Ginebra did avenged their previous loss to Tanduay with a hard-earned 126-118 win in the second round of eliminations, Bates outscored Williams this time, 50 to 36. In two games in the semifinals, Bates proved his superiority over Williams as Ginebra defeated Tanduay with ease.

Dexter Shouse (Shell)

Besides Michael Young and Rob Williams, Dexter Shouse is another colorful import the late 80s PBA fans remember more in a rivalry with Bates. Among the imports in the second part of my listings, only Shouse had played against Bates in more than one conference. Their teams split two meetings each in the 1986 and 1987 Third Conference. Bates, no doubt had the better overall stats than Shouse. In their last match-up on October 25, 1987, Billy Ray equalled his previous all-time high of 69 points in Ginebra’s 132-123 victory over Shell. Shouse scored his high total as well with 55 points. Who would have thought Shouse played his last game as a Shell bugbuster that night.

Bobby Parks (San Miguel Beer)

As in my previous write-up, the soon-to-be seven-time PBA best import awardee, then playing for San Miguel Beer, was with the team that keeps on beating their sister ballclub during the 1987 Third Conference. Bates scored more points and average 54.25 points in Ginebra’s four outings with the Beermen while Parks had a 50.25 points average. Too bad for PBA fans that Bates never got to play once more against Parks, this time in Shell uniform in the following season. In more than three weeks in a period from September-October 1988, both Parks (PBA/IBA Cup) and Bates don the Anejo jersey.

Jose Slaughter (Hills Bros.)

Slaughter is best remembered for providing the winning basket for Hills Bros Coffee Kings against Ginebra in a playoff for a finals berth which ended Bates’ streak of winning PBA titles. Both imports outscored one another in each of their team’s victory. Slaughter scored 62 points as to Bates’ 49 in their first meeting on October 15, won by Hills Bros, 132-121. Ginebra won in the second round of eliminations on October 27 as Bates poured in 61 points to Slaughter’s 44 in a 125-101 victory. Slaughter again outscored Bates, 55-48, in their first meeting in the semifinals won by the Coffee Kings, 115-104 on November 15. Two weeks later, Slaughter had his lowest ouput against Ginebra with 30 points and Bates scored 44 points as the Gins forces a playoff match with a 90-85 win. In their final encounter on December 1, Slaughter finished with 43 points in Hills Bros’ 89-87 victory, Bates tallied 39 points.


Billy Ray Bates against the 10 top PBA imports he played with (Part 1)

The Philippine Basketball Association’s most prolific import in history, Billy Ray Bates, also known as the “black superman”, played a total of five seasons in the league. In 1983, while playing for the multi-titled Crispa Redmanizers, Bates averages 44.1 pts in 25 games in the Reinforced second conference. His stats went slightly lower with a 39.2 point average in 24 games in the 1983 Open third conference.

Returning back in the 1986 Open third conference to play for crowd-favorite Ginebra San Miguel and led his team to their first championship, Bates averages 49.6 points in 22 games with Ginebra. The following season, his averages went up to 54.9 ppg in 23 outings and for the first time, Billy Ray failed to lead his team to a title.

In two-conference stint with Crispa and Ginebra, Bates never missed a single game. I won’t include his final year in 1988 third conference, where he played only four games before being release by Anejo Rum 65 (formerly Ginebra).

Now let’s talk about the 10 top imports Billy Ray has played with in the PBA and how he (along with his team) fared against a fellow import. The listings are in no order, the first part is from his stint as a Crispa Redmanizer and the second part as a Ginebra San Miguel import.

Norman Black (Great Taste, Alaska, San Miguel)

Bates and Black have played against each other for a total of 19 times, with Billy Ray winning 13 and Norman winning six. Before the 1983 Second Conference finals between Crispa and Great Taste, the count was 4-0 in favor of Crispa. Bates outscored Black in three of their four meetings although Black got the better average of 48.25 to 46.75 by Bates. The difference was in their first semifinal outing on July 28, won by Crispa, 140-133. Black hit 51 points while Bates tallied only 28 markers. Before the Third Conference finals, it was Great Taste who got the upperhand, 3-1, in their four matches in the eliminations and semifinals.

In 1986, Bates’ Ginebra team won twice over Black’s team Alaska. Their last match up was in 1988. Black, who was the playing import-coach for San Miguel Beer, defeated Anejo Rum, 133-111 on October 6. Bates scored his last 40-point output in the PBA with 40 points in that game.

Lew Massey (Gilbey’s Gin)

So far, there’s an available video of Bates vs Lew Massey with Crispa winning 135-123 in their first meeting on May 19. But that’s not the case in the next six times Bates and Massey face off. Gilbey’s Gin won all of them, 126-124, 148-145 OT and 133-126. In the third conference, the Massey-Jacky Dorsey combination gave Gilbey’s three more consecutive wins over Crispa, 137-125 win in Naga City on September 15, 126-113 and 118-115 on the first day of the semifinals on November 13. Crispa finally snapped out of the long, losing skein to Gilbey’s with a 138-122 win on November 20 and Bates was still outscored by Massey, 35 to 45. It was the worst record Billy Ray had against any team (2-win, 6-loss).  The Gimlets or the Gin Tonics were twice denied of a finals berth by Great Taste in playoff/knockout games. In recent interviews on his PBA career, Bates cited Massey and Manila Beer’s Michael Young as the toughest imports he has played with.

Donnie Ray Koonce (San Miguel, Alaska)

One of the earliest anticipated match-ups in the 1983 PBA second conference was Bates against the former best import awardee Donnie Ray Koonce, who moved over to San Miguel Beer after helping Toyota win two championships in the previous season. In their first meeting, Crispa edges San Miguel, 113-111 on May 24. Bates and Koonce each scored 41 points. In their next confrontation, San Miguel was the first team to stop the Redmanizers winning streak that reach to 21 games in a 110-99 victory a month later on June 23. Crispa won four of their five matches in the two-import third conference, including the playoff game on November 26. (The Pinoy Extreme highlights of Crispa’s November 22  game against SMB was probably the best highlights of Billy Ray Bates’ PBA career).

On September 25, 1986, Bates debut in Ginebra uniform against Koonce’ team Alaska Milk. The game features four returning imports that includes Michael Hackett and Norman Black. Ginebra won the match, 122-115. Overall, the Black Superman owns six victories as against two losses versus Donnie Ray.

Francois Wise (Tanduay Rhum)

The Redmanizers won all their six games with Tanduay in the 1983 second and third conferences and it must have been frustrating for the hulk, Francois Wise, that he could not beat the black superman, Billy Ray Bates. Four of the six matches were decided by 10 points or less, two of which went into overtime.

Andrew Fields (Toyota Super Corollas)

Its unfortunate for PBA fans that they were able to see the best import of Crispa and the best import of Toyota on the same floor only twice. Fields won his first match up with Bates and his partner, 6-9 DeWayne Scales, as Toyota beats Crispa, 102-93 on August 30. The Redmanizers were still feeling the celebration of winning their second title of the season a week before. The game itself had Toyota missing the services of three key players – Sonny Jaworski, Francis Arnaiz and Ramon Fernandez. Andy Fields topscored for Toyota with 31 points while Bates only scored 23 points for Crispa and it was Scales who led the scoring for the Redmanizers with 36 points. Their second and final meeting between the two rivals on October 9, Bates doubled his previous output, hitting 46 points this time as Crispa defeated Toyota, 111-96.


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 featured blog 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