The great Tony Siddayao, sports editor of the Philippines Daily Express, analyzed Crispa’s successful use of an all-Filipino lineup in the 1975 PBA All-Philippine Championship series with Toyota.
Despite Monday’s loss, Toyota still favored to sweep series
By Antonio M. Siddayao
Philippines Daily Express
Published Wednesday December 10, 1975
BABY DALUPAN gave a refresher course on the virtues of going all-Filipino last Monday night by keeping his American players on the bench in the last quarter and watching the rest of his underdog Redmanizers turn tables on the American-aided Toyota Comets.
Yes, it was a gamble, Dalupan said. No, he hadn’t forgotten manager Danny Floro’s investments on Peter Crotty and Johnny Burks, who are paid in dollars. It was a gamble that was paying off, so why bring in the Yanks, Baby averted. If things had gone bad, then Crotty or Burks would have been called in.
“Mas may fuerza kung sila (They worked harder, they were more spirited playing with other American),” explained Dalupan, who has taken more beatings in one season than ever before, ever since Dante Silverio surfaced on the coaching scene.
SO THE Comets, who had survived Crispa’s extraordinary efforts until their fortunes changed in the last six minutes, found themselves back where they started with the Redmanizers, Instead of a 2-0 lead for Toyota the count is now 1-all, with the two clubs’ All-Philippine championship series assured of a fourth game and possibly a fifth.
YET DESPITE what owner-coach Dante Silverio said were repeated cases of indiscretion by his boys – “They took many shots out of position,” he complained – it looked as if Dalupan would regret his move as the Comets stormed to their second biggest lead of the evening, 94-88, with eight minutes to go.
“Akala ko’y talon a (I thought we had lost),” said Floro, who still owes Toyota and the PBA P82,000 in default money. With six minutes to go, Toyota seemed to have everything under control, 98-92.
THEN WHAT many in the crowd of 18,000 suspected was a tinge of overconfidence on the part of the Comets combined with the dead-seriousness of the Redmanizers, and the complexion of the rugged contest began to change dramatically.
The Redmanizers’ phenomenal bustling allowed them to score four times on second shots as they pounded in front and sent their followers leaping deliriously to their feet, 104-100. And as if to complicate what already was a worrisome situation, the Comets fell into three errors.
“One by (Ramon) Fernandez, another by (Rodolfo) Segura and still another by (Francis) Arnaiz,” recounted Silverio. “Too many errors in the last two minutes.” By actual count, these happened in the last one minute 25 seconds that were left. The errors included in a hideously wild fastbreak pass and a fumble. With these Crispa pulled away, 107-100.
THREE TIMES in this encounter Dalupan pulled out his Americans, and three times Silverio refused to be drawn into the same trap of an all-Filipino duel. “I never bothered to figure out what he was up to,” Silverio said. “I was just playing my game.”
Silverio had paid in a 118-109 defeat only last week after reportedly mistaking as a challenge what merely was a desperation move by Dalupan although this was a game Silverio could afford to lose. By then a Toyota-Crispa finals was already a fact.
Dalupan did go all-Filipino also the night Crispa smashed into the series lead last Saturday with a 99-97 decision. But neither did Silverio acknowledge the invitation, the stakes now being too precious to fool around with. The Redmanizers outscored the Comets, unassisted by either Crotty or Burks, in the second quarter, but a repeat move by Dalupan later in the game backfired.
ON THE THREE occasions Crotty and Burks found their services unwanted the other night against Snake Jones and Stan Cherry, Dalupan was fully justified. The Filipino Redmanizers, prominent among them the highly paid (P5,000 a month) William Adornado, Philip Cezar, Rudy Soriano and Fortunato Co, outgunned their tormentors, with their fourth-quarter excursion bringing them their greatest success.
If the Comets took the Redmanizers lightly up to the time it became obvious that they indeed could lose, it was quite possibly largely because of the contemptuous ease with which they kept Crispa under control. The Redmanizers had to play their best to make a fight of it. For this, all they could show was a brief surge into the lead at 24-21 on the heroics of Reynaldo Franco.
Toyota wiped out in a jiffy with a jumper, a breakaway and a jumper by No. 1 basketball player-of-the-year candidate Francis Arnaiz, 29-24. Then late in the second quarter, exploding with fastbreaks whenever they wished, the Comets sent the straining, stretching but never-say-die Redmanizers reeling back, 60-52.
TOYOTA came off with a 58-51 advantage in the rebounds (27-23 off the offensive board). Yet Crispa scored 20 points on second shots, with Cezar delivering eight, and got six of these in the last quarter.
Crispa hit 50 percent from the floor in this quarter (12 of 24) against Toyota’s 48 percent (11 of 27), although this was not as telling as the fact that foul trouble hit Toyota with still 2:34 to go, its last three team fouls all attacking fouls.
At any rate, the newness of the experience of coming through without any help form Crotty or Burks despite Jones’ presence in the other side, seemed a bit overwhelming for the Redmanizers. They flubbed five charities in that final stretch, compounding a triple press that nearly snatched the Comets from impending defeat.
TOYOTA’S only seventh setback in 18 games with Crispa since the PBA opened shop last April naturally revises the odds somewhat for game No. 3 today. Fewer now are those who think Crispa can’t win this one.
But the overall odds are, of course, still for Toyota to win the series and sweep the PBA’s first-ever season. And even if, by some freakish turn of events, Crispa pulls out this particular championship, it cannot diminish in any way Silverio’s worthiness for the coach of the year award. This, we feel, is uncontestable. So much has this sophomore mentor achieved in so short of a time.