Francis Arnaiz scored the winning basket to complete Toyota’s comeback over Crispa in the semifinal round of the 1976 PBA All-Filipino Conference. The victory gave the Comets the solo lead in the four-team, round-robin phase.
Toyota five nips Crispa, 104-102
By Norberto Eljera
Published Friday June 25, 1976
Toyota, given up for lost in the final 75 seconds, capped a searing comeback last night with a lightning-quick 6-0 blast to turn back Crispa-Floro, 104-102, in a pulse-pounding match before some 25,000 fans at the Araneta Coliseum.
The victory - Toyota’s first over Crispa in the All-Filipino conference of the Philippine Basketball Association - gave the Comets the undisputed lead in the semifinal round with three straight victories.
The loss was the Redmanizers’ first after two wins.
In the other game, Noritake subdued Quasar, 114-109, for its first win. The TV-makers suffered their third straight loss.
The Comets actually scored the last 10 points of the thrilling, rugged contest as the Redmanizers hit a scoreless spell after Tito Varela had given Baby Dalupan’s charges a 102-94 lead with little over three minutes remaining.
Ramon Fernandez started the Toyota uprising with a jumpshot. After a Crispa error, Francis Arnaiz drove in to cut Crispa’s lead to four points, 102-98, 2:15 left.
Dante Silverio’s boys then got a big break when Varela, a tower of strength for the Redmanizers, fouled out with two minutes to go.
Toyota got its second break when Rodolfo Soriano missed two foul throws on a foul by Fortunato Acuna, 1:40 left.
Fortunato Co grabbed the rebound but Philip Cezar missed his attempt for the basket, 1:15 remaining.
After Cezar’s miss, Silverio sued for time. Then came three successive baskets that dramatically turned defeat into victory for the Comets.
Arnaiz, who marred his performance earlier with a string of misses, scored on a difficult undergoal shot for a 100-102 count.
Orlando Bauzon then scored on a drive after a steal off Cezar to tie the score at 102-all, the 23rd deadlock in the ballgame.
William Adornado, who led Crispa with 24 points, missed on the return play and Robert Jaworski pulled down the rebound. With 12 ticks remaining, Arnaiz scored what proved to be the winning basket - a long jumpshot that put his team on top, 104-102.
Co missed with six ticks left, Alberto Guidaben took the rebound and drove the basket with one second remaining but he too, missed as the final buzzer sounded.
Toyota’s winning drive came so sudden that the Redmanizers did not know what hit them.
It was a real heart-breaker for the Redmanizers, who had rallied from a big nine-point deficit at the end of the second quarter, 55-64, and routed their arch-rivals in the third period, 31-20, to take the driver’s seat, 86-84.
Toyota’s winning rally came with Rodolfo Segura on the bench. The Comet forward had fouled out with Crispa ahead, 100-94, with still 5:10 left.
Segura scored a game-high 26 points, followed by Fernandez with 24 and Arnaiz with 17.
“It was a double team and the press that saved us,” Silverio said after the game. “Actually it was a go-for-broke tactic, but we are happy that it paid off.”
Meanwhile, Games and Amusement Board chairman Luis Tabuena upheld yesterday the decision of PBA commissioner Leo Prieto to impose a six-game suspension and P1,000-fine on Comet Elias Tolentino.
In his ruling Tabuena said:
“This office finds no cogent reason to reverse the penalty of a six-game suspension and a fine of P1,000 upon Toyota Comet player Elias Tolentino as imposed by the commissioner of the PBA therefore affirms the same.”
The decision was arrivd at after a technical panel of the GAB heard the appeal the other day of Silverio and taking into consideration all the evidences presented, both oral and written.
The individual scores:
Toyota - 104
Crispa - 102
Toyota 25 39 20 20 - 104
Crispa 25 30 31 16 - 102