[Blast from the past] The very first PBA games

This was taken from an old publication. You want some piece of history? Here it is, an account of the very first PBA games.

April 9, 1975, Wednesday. 18,000 fans trooped to the Araneta Coliseum. The opening night of the PBA saw the Toyota Comets nipping the Universal Textile Weavers 105-101 and the Mariwasa-Noritake quintet edging the Concepcion Carriers 101-98.

Mariwasa-Noritake powered by American Israel “Cisco” Oliver, and Concepcion battled in the first game after an hour-long opening ceremonies. Games and Amusements Board chairman Louie Tabuena was guest of honor, while Mia Montemayor reigned as PBA muse during the opening rites.

Crispa, True-Orange (SMC), Tanduay, CFC-Corp. and Seven Up comprised the first nine teams that started Asia’s first professional basketball association.

All nine teams composed the old MICAA until Emerson Coseteng of Mariwasa piloted the breakaway play for pay.

The first PBA game started with a stepping violation by Oliver. The Carriers’ Gregorio “Joy” Dionisio then laid up on the return play for the first ever PBA basket.

The Carriers started a 12-8 run in the first quarter but Noritake, behind the power of Oliver, countered with a 21-13 blast to lead 29-21 at the end of the 12 minutes of play.

It was an auspicious debut for the league as the 6-7 Oliver regaled the crowd with a game-high 48 points for the night, 26 of them coming in the first half of play.

Oliver, displaying tremendous power and control, powered Noritake to a 14-point lead early in the second quarter, 38-24, before the Carriers rallied and settled with only an eight-point deficit after 24 minutes of play 48-56.

But Oliver and Adriano Papa Jr. who pumped in 17 markers, combined for 12 straight points at the start of the third quarter to build a commanding 20-point advantage 68-48. Noritake then traded baskets with the Carriers in the next three minutes before finishing the first 36 minutes of play with a 17-point lead, 81-64.

But the Carriers Jaime Mariano, Lim Eng Beng and Dionisio combined forces to cut Noritake’s almost insurmountable lead in a blazing rally that carried Concepcion to within five points, 94-99 time down to 57 seconds.

It proved to be their last stand as Noritake safely cruised to a 101-98 victory.

Jaime Noblezada, who battled the fearsome Noritake trio of Oliver, Hubert Filipinas and Papa, topscored for the Carriers with 24 points. Mariano was second with 17 while four others chipped in 10 or more points.

In the second game, six Comets led by Rodolfo “Ompong” Segura and Francis Arnaiz scored 23 and 22 points, respectively, to key a balance Toyota offense against the streak shooting duo of Larry “The Fox” Mumar and Danilo “Danny” Florencio, who scored 29 points each.

The Comets took a nine-point a nine-point spread at 42-33 from 25-all behind a 16-7 blast by Arnaiz and Ramon Fernandez.

But U-Tex, behind Mumar, Florencio and Danilo Basilan, countered with its own rally to trail by just two points at the half, 51-53.

The two teams scored 28 points each in the next 12 minutes of play for an 81-79 count going into the final quarter.

The Toyota-U-Tex game was so close with 17 ties, the last at 83-all early in the fourth quarter before the Comets stepped on the gas for a heartbreaking finish.

With five minutes of play, Fernandez scored on a jumper and Alberto Reynoso followed with four clutch points to give the Comets an eight-point advantage.

The Comets never surrendered the lead after that. It was a big debut. They went home with only a four-point victory but it was enough to solidify their position as the team to beat. They were champions at the end of the conference.

The Scores:

First Game:

Noritake 101 – Oliver 48, Papa 17, Filipinas 14, Figuracion 8, Arriola 4, Sullano 4, Tierra 4, Dacula 2, Alcantara 0, Rodriguez 0.
Carriers 98 – Noblezada 24, Mariano 17, Mora 13, Lim 13, Lucindo 13, Dionisio 10, Deles 4, Dungo 2, Henares 0.
Quarterscores: 29-21, 56-48, 81-64, 101-98.

Referees: F. Santarina, R. Bartolome

Second Game:

Toyota 105 – Segura 23, Arnaiz 22, A. Reynoso 17, Fernandez 13, C. Reynoso 13, Jaworski 11, Rocha 6, Rojas 2, Bauzon 0.
U-Tex 101 – Mumar 29, Florencio 29, Kutch 13, Basilan 6, Gomez 6, Frank 6, Deles 6, Disantos 2, Otazu 2, Pineda 2, Abarrientos 0, Lizares 0.
Quarterscores: 24-24, 53-51, 81-79, 105-101

Referees: V. Marquez, O. Correa

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