Crispa's title-clinching win over Toyota in the deciding fifth game of the 1975 PBA All-Philippine Championship was overshadowed by a pair of bench-clearing brawls. The Redmanizers' victory denied the Comets a rare grand slam.
Crispa wins, captures All-Philippine title
By Ding Marcelo
Published Monday December 15, 1975
Crispa-Floro vanquished arch-nemesis Toyota, 96-91, last night in a bruising, bloody encounter marked by two bench-emptying free-for-all sessions to win the All-Philippine Championship – the prized title of the infant Philippine Basketball Association.
Close to 40,000 spectators watched both excited and tormented as the two teams, overcome by passion and deep-seated emotion, chased each other with flailing fists across the court, once in the second quarter and again with only 35 seconds left in the game when Crispa was ahead, 96-91.
Oscar Rocha, a sophomore in the Toyota lineup, swung a right cross to Rodolfo Soriano’s faced early in the second quarter in precipitate the first riot that saw all benches emptied, the count at 27-18, in favor of the Redmanizers.
Philip Cezar somewhat blotted what otherwise was a splendid job when he punched Ramon Fernandez in retaliation for an elbow dug in this face when he drove off the Toyota ace for Crispa’s final basket of the evening. Again, all players of both teams swarmed into the court joined in by some fiercely partisan fans and it took another 10 minutes before complete order was restored.
Spotty officiating, no doubt, contributed tremendously to the two melees as referees Igmidio Cahanding, who drew praise with his excellent control of previous Crispa-Toyota matches, and Eriberto Cruz, erratically called fouls while at the same time leaving undisturbed vicious elbowing by both sides under their very noses.
Despite the calls, however, all elements of a gripping championship match were very evident, with the lead changing heads seven times and Crispa and Toyota fighting and clawing for evey loose ball – sometimes violently.
Crispa ominously took the lead, 87-80, in the final stretch but found its defense suddenly left with a gaping hole when Johnny Burks followed fellow import Peter Crotty to the bench on six fouls with still 3:10 left.
But Crispa, which had won three games against Toyota using an all-Filipino crew in crucial stretches, found no reason to panic as the Redmanizers held their own against the Comets who came tantalizingly close to overhauling that 8-point lead, 89-92, with still 95 seconds left.
William Adornado, who topscored for 18 points, seven of them in the torrid final quarter, banged in his final basket off Orlando Bauzon and though Jaworski narrowed it down to three anew on an error by Cezar, 91-94, the elongated Crispa slotman redeemed himself swiftly by sinking in the clincher for the Redmanizers, a driving lay-up off Fernandez which triggered off the riot moments later.
In an apparent show of disgust, Comet coach Dante Silverio who blamed the referees for the riot and for his team’s loss, sent in only four men in the last 30 seconds.
Confetti flew and banners were unfurled as the Crispa fans crowded the court to lift Coach Baby Dalupan and team manager Danny Floro for the traditional victory ride.
Dalupan, choked with emotion, could hardly say anything about his team’s victory, but said he was glad they won the most important PBA championship staked this year.
Dalupan had lost the first conference on a 3-1 score in their best-of-five series with the Comets and also the second conference by the same margin although his team had to forfeit the fourth game owing to his differences with organizers on the matter of choosing the referees.
Aside from Adornado, who also absorbed several punches during the two free-for-alls.
The individual scores:
Crispa – 96
De la Cruz 0
Toyota – 91
C. Reynoso 2
A Reynoso 0
Crispa 21 22 26 27 - 96
Toyota 16 26 26 23 - 91
Refs: I. Cahanding, E. Cruz