The public wasn’t too happy with the events that transpired in Game 5 of the 1975 PBA All-Philippine Championship between Crispa and Toyota even as commissioner Leo Prieto was deliberating on the sanctions that will be given on erring players.
Crispa-Toyota melees decried
By Ding Marcelo
Published Tuesday December 16, 1975
A collective outcry was raised by an outraged public yesterday over the unwarranted violence that marred the Crispa-Toyota title match the other day for the All-Philippine crown of the Philippine Basketball Association.
Calls swamped the Bulletin office moments after Crispa emerged champion by a 96-91 victory over Toyota. The callers asked both teams be severaly punished. Some askd for a suspension ranging from one season to two years while stil other sought, vociferously, for the outrght abolition of the PBA and a return to amateur basketball.
Even as basketball fans reacted to the uncalled-for-violence that erupted twice on the hardcourt, PBA Commissioner Leo Prieto, who is charged with the task of imposing disciplinary action on erring teams and players, was still in the process of consolidating reports and accounts of witnesses.
A PBA spokesman said Prieto continued to review the video tapes of the previous night’s game together with members of the three-man PBA technical committee - former referees Cesar Corres and Crispin Aldiosa.
The committee will sit together, then submit individual reports. Prieto will consolidate all data and these will be submitted to the PBA board of governors.
Fines or suspension or both are expected to be imposed on erring players and possibly for the teams involved but the severest are expected to fall on the players who triggered off the two free-for-all sessions.
Toyota’s Oscar Rocha was reported to have started the melee by taking a swing at Rodolfo Soriano early in the second quarter while Crispa’s Philip Cezar allegedly hit Ramon Fernandez after Fernandez had supposedly tackled him during a lay-up attempt with only seconds remaining in the game, when the outcome was already beyond doubt for Crispa.
An unidentified lady caller, who said she saw the whole thing on TV together with her three children, asked what values the incident imparted to her young kids who idolize some of the players.
She proposed that a cooling-off period be imposed on professional basketball which she said “is not doing anything at all to instill sportsmanship in the minds of the young but only blind fanaticism.”
Another caller said he would like to see the two teams disbande for at least a year to enable their burning animosity to cool off.
One angry witness demanded that the PBA be abolished because “it is not serving the purpose for which it was organized - to make basketball a decent form of livelihood.”
Prieto also said he may come up with a proposal to the board of governors to which positive measures will also be extended to coaches and team managers for the misbehavior of players.
The PBA commissioner said some PBA rules governing the discipline of cagers who have been violated with impunity by some clubs, for instance, the withholding of players’ salaries during suspensions which he said were never followed.
He also added that fines, which in the rules should be shouldered by the players, are paid for by the club management.