Byron “Snake” Jones and Ompong Segura's heroics prevented Toyota from being swept by Crispa after winning Game 3 of their best-of-five showdown for the 1976 PBA Second Conference crown.
Toyota stays alive in series
Trims Crispa, 108-98
By Ding Marcelo
Published Wednesday November 17, 1976
Toyota's back-to-the-wall Silver Tamaraws, starring Rodolfo Segura and Byron “Snake” Jones in the fourth quarter, turned the tables on Crispa last night, 108-98, to stay alive in the best-of-five series for the PBA second conference championship at the Araneta Coliseum.
Segura and Jones scored six points each in a crippling 12-4 Toyota attack in the last five minutes that catapulted Dante Silverio's boys from 90-92 deficit to an irreversible 104-94 lead.
It was a rousing comeback for the Silver Tamaraws who had entered the contest as the underdogs following the 95-92 and 98-93 losses to the Redmanizers in the first two games of the series.
The series now moves into a fourth game tomorrow with the two teams clashing in the second game at 7:45 p.m.
The first game at 6 o'clock pits Royal Tru-Orange against U-Tex also in the game 4 of their own series for third place. The Orangemen hold a 2-1 edge following a surprise 104-99 win over the Wranglers in last night's first game.
Coach Ning Ramos' boys fashioned the victory without high-scoring Carl Bird, who was serving a one-game suspension.
Manuel Paner and Ernesto Estrada seared for the Orangement with 25 and 24 points, respectively, while Rosalio Martinez contributed 17 points, including the go-ahead two charities with one minute left, 97-95. Dennis Edmonds, Royal's other import, added 13.
For a while, it appeared the Redmanizers would win the championship via an unprecedented 3-0 sweep when Baby Dalupan's wards regained the lead, 92-90, six minutes left from an 88-90 deficit.
But the Silver Tamaraws were not to be denied. An alternating last and slowbreak in the last five minutes brought utter confusion into the ranks of the normally cool Redmanizers who missed three straight attempts and lapsed into a series of errors, including two by Bernard Fabiosa, the hero of Crispa's last two victories.
“The boys cooled off,” said a dejected coach Baby Dalupan after the game, watched by another banner crowd of 30,000.
“New playing patterns in the last quarter did it for my boys,” said Toyota coach Dante Silverio, who had deplored in the harshest of terms officiating in the first two games of the series.
“If they want to, they could really be fair,” he said this time as he practically praised referees Igmidio Cahanding and Remigio Bartolome.
Byron “Snake” Jones, listless and lethargic in the first two games of the series, was in his venomous self again as he routed Crispa imports Cyrus Mann and Bill Bunton in the slot.
Joining Jones in the ranks of Toyota heroics for the evening were Rodolfo Segura who finally hit his stride after so-so performances in the past and old reliables Francis Arnaiz, Robert Jaworski and Ramon Fernandez.
Fortunato Co, Jr. of Crispa drilled in a game-high 32 points. He unabashedly shed tears after the final buzzer sounded.
It was Co, together with Alfredo Hubalde who gave Crispa an 80-72 lead midway in the third quarter. Hubalde shot 23 points.
The fifth game of the series, if necessary, will be played Sunday.
Toyoa – 108
Crispa – 98
P. Cezar 8
Toyota 25 31 24 28 – 108
Crispa 26 28 28 16 – 98
Refs: I. Cahanding, R. Bartolome