Bulletin Today sports editor Lito Fernandez reflected on the impact of Toyota import Byron "Snake" Jones in the Comets' two victories in the 1975 PBA First Conference title series. The column was published on the day of Game 4.
The venom of ‘Snake’ Jones
By Lito Fernandez
Published Thursday July 31, 1975
As expected, the best-of-five series between Crispa and Toyota for the PBA championship did not end in three games. The fourth game will be played today and the fifth, if necessary, is reserved for tomorrow.
Jones, Toyota’s six-foot-eight American import, has been the main force in Toyota’s drive in the last two games. He has been doing what Comet coach Dante Silverio expects him to do: control the shaded lane and the backboards.
With “Snake” doing his job, the rest of the Comets are doing theirs too. Francis Arnaiz is the steady court general. Ramon Fernandez is Jones’ backup man and assists. Robert Jaworski puts the cuffs on William Adornado. Rodolfo Segura and Cristino Reynoso provide the artillery. Even tiny Joaquin Rojas Jr., the oldest player in the PBA, does his share with his heady play.
Adornado, who unloaded 29 points in Crispa’s 107-103 victory in the first game of the series last Thursday, was limited to 16 in each of the last two games, well below his average. With Bogs virtually handcuffed, Baby Dalupan’s boys had to rely on long-shooting Fortunato Co for the pressure hits and the latter responded with 24 points last Monday and 22 the other night, both high for Crispa.
The towering Jones had set the tone for the Comets Monday night when he poured in 30 points in a low-scoring match won by the Comets, 88-87. The 30 points, representing 34 percent of Toyota’s output, made up for Jones’ poor shooting against the Redmanizers last Thursday when he made only 11.
The stateside import was down to 16 points the other night but Segura, debunking the charge that chokes up everytime Toyota meets Crispa, teamed up with Arnaiz and the younger Reynoso is heading the Comets’ production. Segura, who hit 20 points last Monday, led all scorers with 23 points while Arnaiz and Reynoso pumped in 20 points apiece. Arnaiz, now regularly used by Silverio, contributed 16.
The best of the bruising contest got into the players’ heads in the dying minutes and the match almost erupted into a free-for-all when Crispa’s Alfredo Hubalde fell after he drove against the towering American. Nobody could really tell what happened after that but it was this play which started all the shoving and verbal jousts among the players.
Indeed, this is a keenly-controlled series after three games, the total point difference is only one point. The two teams traded four-point victories in the first and third games, sandwiching a one-point Toyota win in the second.