Crispa was beaten three in-a-row and in five out-of-seven meetings with Toyota as the Redmanizers yielded, too, the fight-marred Second Conference plum of the PBA 1975 inaugurals to the Comets.
It was in this tournament that fisticuffs among players of the two warring clubs erupted forcing Crispa to forfeit Game 4 of the best-of-five championship series with Toyota leading, 2-1,that gifted the Comets the back-to-back titles of the country’s first professional league.
The tumultuous imports-laden Open Conference ended with Toyota enjoying a 10-5 win-loss mark in their head-on personal duel with the Redmanizers with coach Dante Silverio’s boys moving a game way of what could have been a historic Grandslam right in the play-for-pay’s opening year.
The Pasig-based charges of coach Baby Dalupan and team manager Danny Floro denied them though the honor by ruling the Third Conference named the All-Philippine Championship, considered the most prestigious of the three the PBA offered that year. With the help of American reinforcers Johnny Burks and Pete Crotty.
Crispa wasn’t Crispa to its fans and critic s alike if it can’t come from the depth to the height of greatness. This, Toyota found this out later. The Redmanizers won not only the Third Conference of that year, but, likewise, all the three Conferences that followed the next year to crown themselves, instead, the first Grandslam champions of the young league.
The troop that included Bogs Adornado, Atoy Co, Philip Cezar, Abet Guidaben, Freddie Hubalde, Johnny Revilla, Bernie Fabiosa, Rey Franco, Cris Calilan and Virgilio de la Cruz along with Crotty and Burks went into the third Conference cage war with the rivalry between Crispa and Toyota reaching fever pitch. Royal Tru-Orange and Universal Textiles also qualified in the four-team field.
Toyota possessed an equally formidable line up made up of Robert Jaworski, Francis Arnaiz, Ramon Fernandez, Orly Bauzon, Oscar Rocha, Fortunato Acuna, Aurelio Clarino, Alborto “Boy” Reynoso, Cristino Reynoso, Joaquin Rojas, Rodolfo Segura, Roberto Concepcion and imports Byron “Snake Jones and Stanley Cherry.
The Comets and the Redmanizers easily disposed of Royal and the Weavers as they headed toward a third and final title showdown. Crispa downed Toyota, 118-109 at the end of the elimination round in what looked an empty win for they both already made it to the finals.
For Dalupan, that victory showed how he and his Redmanizers could bead their arch-rivals, which they proved to become the best All Filipino team in the land. Toyota took he opener of the series with a 99-97 squeaker as Jones outplayed Crottyand Burks by making 12 points the last eight minutes of he contest, including four from the line in the last four.
Dalupan though surprised everyone, including bosom buddy Floro by fielding in an all-Filipino combination in the last quarter to even he series in a 111-107 thriller. A big standing room only crowd of some 35,000 filled the Araneta Coliseum as the Redmanizer moved within the threshold of their first crown in the play for-pay game.
Dalupan’s all-Filipino tactic backfired though the second time around as the Comets came back and forged a rubber-match, 79-77 on crunch baskets by
Segura and Bauzon in the wind up seconds.
That Crispa won’t be denied of its biggest triumph since Floro formed a team in the early 50s to compete in backyard leagues in Pasig and adjacent towns on the way to joining the commercial Businessmen’s Athletic Association, the MICAA and later the PBA, the Redmanizers snowed it all with 96-91 clamping of the Comets in the next outing.
Thus ended the turbulent but successful launching of the first local and Asian professional play detractors predicted didn’t have means to celebrate a second birthday but is now in its 43rd year.