Crispa wins, nears title
Published Friday July 9, 1976
Crispa's “Magnificent 8” worked with chilling efficiency in the final quarter last night to turn back Toyota, 121-114, and needs only to win Sunday's fourth game in their best-of-five series to win the Philippine Basketball Association's All-Filipino Conference championship at the Araneta Coliseum.
The same hardy band of eight Redmanizers, the remnants of what before was a group of 12 first class hardcourt performers until decimated by injuries and suspensions, plucked victory from the jaws of defeat, outscoring the Comets, 35-21, in the final 12 minutes for a commanding 2-1 lead in their championship series.
The Comets appeared tantalizingly close to sweeping the Redmanizers off the court when they led by 11, 99-88, early in the final period on Francis Arnaiz and Rodolfo Segura's heroics.
But no sooner had they tasted their biggest lead for the evening when Crispa exploded on a 14-3 barrage to level at 102-all.
Robert Jaworski grabbed the lead anew for Toyota anew and after Segura and Fortunato Acuna put the Comets ahead by six, 110-104, five minutes left, Crispa again reverberated with the same courage and firmness to take the lead, 112-110, never to relinquish it again.
In between those momentous rallies by Crispa, Jaworski, whom Crispa coach Baby Dalupan said wrought the most terrible havoc on the Redmanizers' defense, fouled by, followed by Ramon Fernandez.
The tide of battle, which before swung uncertainly from one side to the other, swiftly took a decisive turn for Crispa.
From the moment Jaworski fouled out and then Fernandez, Crispa riddled the Toyota defense with 15 points against Segura's lone twinner to put the game away, 119-112, 60 seconds left.
Coach Dalupan's near-perfect shuffling of his men produced harmony and even when the going was rough, particularly in the fourth quarter when Toyota threatened to pull away, the Redmanizers never lost heart.
William Adornado played his usual role, banging a game-high 36 points, including 26 points in the first two quarters. That gave an average of 32.3 points per game in the title series, and when he cooled off, there was Rodolfo Soriano and Fortunato Co who gladly took the cudgels from him.
Alberto Guidaben again was a tower off the boards but Fernandez was not left behind this time as he matched the Crispa center's 18-point output while hauling his own share of the rebounds.
“I guess we were lucky,” said Dalupan and added that if they were not, Jaworski and Fernandez would have not fouled out. “The absence of the two broke their backs,” he explained.
Coach Dante Silverio, on the other hand, claimed that aside from the referees' calls that went against them, several foul throws missed, 14 in all, contributed to their downfall.
“The referees were calling the game so tight it was hard for me to put up a good defense,” he said.
Sunday, the odds definitely will now be in Crispa's favor. Not only do the Redmanizers had the psychological edge to fall back on one more game, they will also have the services of Philip Cezar whose suspension ends on that day.
But then, who needs Cezar at the rate Guidaben is playing.
Bernard Fabiosa, still taking it easy with his still painful left knee, fired 10 points, while Alfredo Hubalde had 13.
Topscorer for Toyota was Segura, who matched Adornado's 36 while Arnaiz contributed 26 points and Jaworski 25.
Crispa – 121
Toyota – 114
Crispa 30 38 18 35 – 121
Toyota 33 27 33 21 – 114
Refs: E. Cruz, F. Santarina