Toyota beat Crispa in a non-bearing semifinal match before the start of their best-of-five title series in the 1976 PBA Second Conference. The game also saw Crispa star Bogs Adornado reinjuring his knee in return from a one-month absence.
Toyota trims Crispa, 109-102
By Ding Marcelo
Published Thursday November 11, 1976
Toyota captured top semifinal honors last night as the Comets outplayed Crispa in the last three minutes, 109-102, in a game surprisingly marked by extreme cautiousness by both sides at the Araneta Coliseum.
Short of possibly and practically exchanging pleasantries on the court, the Comets and the Redmanizers went through the motions of finishing this final game of the semifinals which had no bearing as the two teams have already arranged a showdown for the second conference title in a best-of-five series beginning tomorrow.
U-Tex closed out with a 141-117 thumping of winless Royal Tru-Orange for a 3-3 card. Royal finished with a 0-6 card.
The Wranglers and the Orangemen will clash in their own best-of-five series for third place which will serve as the opening match for the Crispa-Toyota title affair.
Romualdo Cabading of U-Tex led all scorers last night with 34 points.
Crispa led by 15 points twice, 45-30, and 49-34, but the more serious Toyota five pecked at the lead with consuming energy to eventually lead, 91-89, 8 minutes left, which they preserved down the wire.
The only major casualty in the game, other than Crispa's dented pride, was William Adornado, the Redmanizers' scoring ace who played for exactly five seconds at the second quarter before retiring when he reinjured his right knee.
He had been out of action for a month until coach Baby Dalupan decided to use him, a decision he probably regretted.
A torn ligament on Adornado's knee somehow was not fully healed and a rupture was feared by the PBA physician. He is not expected to play the best-of-five series.
“Ewan ko ba,” Adornado said as he contemplated his misfortune on the bench. “Ngayon lang sumakit ito. Magaling na ito. Hindi ko nga maintindihan,” he said as his team started to wilt before his eyes.
Even Toyota coach Dante Silverio was seemingly more concerned on preserving the health of his starters as he allowed such second stringers as Rolando Marcelo, Elias Tolentino, Aurelio Clarino and Jake Rojas practically feasting on the floor with their new found vigor.
It was Fortunato Acuna, however, who finally stopped a strong Crispa rally in the last two minutes as he banged in four of the Comets' closing 6-0 barrage for a final 109-102 count after the Redmanizers had closed in at 102-103 behind Fortunato Co and William Bunton's five successive points.
Co had a game-high 20 points, 10 of them in the final quarter, as he tried to hold the fort for the Redmanizers as the others visibly cooled off.
Errors came in torrents from both sides but the Redmanizers had more obvious ones and Dalupan could only shake his head from his apparent helplessness.
Howard Smith led all Toyota scorers with 20 while Byron “Snake” Jones had 14 and Francis Arnaiz 13.
Robert Jaworski, whose three-game suspension was lifted together with Crispa's Bernard Fabiosa, did not see action reportedly because of flu.
The win gave the Comets a 17-16 edge over the Redmanizers in their continuing series.
Toyota – 109
Toyota – 102
P. Cezar 14
Toyota 20 27 34 28 – 109
Crispa 23 34 22 23 – 102
Refs: E. Cruz, R. Bartolome