April 9, 1975 - Historic Date In PBA History
by Henry Liao for philippinebasketball.ph (04/08/2012)
During my younger days, the holiday was called ?Bataan Day.? Now, it?s called ?Araw ng Kagitingan.?
In sports, April 9 also is a special date to local basketball fans.
The first game (and playdate) in the hallowed history of Asia?s first and oldest professional league, the Philippine Basketball Association, was held on April 9, 1975.
On that day, an estimated crowd of 18,000 trooped to the Araneta Coliseum to witness a doubleheader that featured Mariwasa Noritake vs. Concepcion Carrier and Toyota vs. Universal Textiles.
Nine trailblazing franchises punched in their participation in the PBA?s inaugural campaign in 1975.
These are the CFC (Consolidated Foods Company) Presto Ice Cream Makers, Crispa-Floro Redmanizers, Concepcion Carrier Weathermakers, Mariwasa Noritake Porcelain Makers, Royal Tru-Orange Orangemen, Seven-Up Uncolas, Tanduay Distillers, Toyota Comets and U-Tex Weavers.
Months earlier, the nine clubs had ceded from the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA), the country?s premier commercial-post graduate league at the time.
Founded in 1938, the MICAA was organized by companies dealing in sporting goods and equipment and consumer products.
The league enjoyed tremendous success through the early seventies but a disagreement with the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) ? then the country?s amateur basketball-governing body and a FIBA member ? over financial matters led the group to break away from the BAP and establish a professional league that it would call the Philippine Basketball Association in March 1975.
With their pro status, the top players from the PBA were no longer eligible to suit up for the national team in international competitions (until the FIBA instituted an open-basketball policy in 1990).
The first-day games saw Mariwasa Noritake beat Concepcion Carrier, 101-98, and Toyota knock off U-Tex, 105-101.
American import Israel (Cisco) Oliver, he of the old Alaska Milk commercial fame (along with a little boy named Wilfred Uytengsu, now the Alaska Aces team owner), topscored for the winning Noritake team with 48 points. The Rifleman Adriano (Jun) Papa, a former Crispa Redmanizer, added 17 for the Porcelain Makers.
Carrier got 24 markers from The Ironman Jimmy Noblezada; 17 from Olympian Jimmy Mariano and 10 from 1972 RP Youth teamer Gregorio (Joy) Dionisio.
Though on the losing side, Dionisio, a 5-10 guard, carved his name in the PBA record books as the first player ever to score a field goal in the league.
In the main game of the twinbill, Toyota picked up its first victory in franchise history as five Comets tallied in double digits ? Rodolfo (Ompong) Segura, 23; Francis (Mr. Clutch) Arnaiz, 22, Alberto (Big Boy) Reynoso, 17; Ramon (El Presidente) Fernandez, 13; and Robert (Sonny) Jaworski, 11.
U-Tex, on the other hand, was powered by former national teamers Danilo Florencio, Lawrence Mumar, Rudolf Kutch and Arturo (Turing) Valenzona, Edgardo (Egay) Gomez, Jaime (Jimmy) Otazu, George Lizares and Virgilio (Billy) Abarrientos, an uncle of future PBA playmaker Johnny Abarrientos and the smallest player in PBA annals at 5-5.
The Weavers? head coach during the first of three conferences in Season One was the great Carlos (Caloy) Loyzaga.
Watch out for more historical facts in the PBA?s inaugural 1975 season.