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Infamous PBA Brawl of 1977

Manila, Philippines – What could possibly be the worst brawl ever to occur in the PBA? Some say it was that celebrated Anejo Rum vs. Presto game held way back in December 11, 1988. But did you know that something worst happened in 1977?

Toyota vs Crispa Brawl 1977-Manila Bulletin smallerThis was the year when Crispa and Toyota met, a match that went awry right after a close 122-121 victory by Crispa over Toyota which was decided by a questionable technical foul called in the last three seconds of the match.

Former coach, Dante Silverio, was whistled for a technical foul for reportedly uttering sweet nothings at referee Estefanio Bernos in the dying seconds.

Prior to that technical, Fortunato Acuna was whistled for a charging call. It was his last foul for the night thus leaving Toyota with only four men on the court.

Referee Bernos reportedly informed Silverio that he had only four players on the hardwood to which the coach reportedly replied “Buti nakita mo.”

A technical foul was called thereafter on Silverio by Bernos himself. Silverio rushed to the technical committee to question the technical foul.

Crispin Aldiosa of the technical committee later said that the technical foul was called because coach Silverio uttered “unprintables” at Bernos.

Fortunato Co was designated to take the marginal free throw with only 3 ticks left, enough to hand Crispa the victory.

And as players from both camps headed towards the locker room, all hell broke loose. Fans and photographers were trying to rush to the scene and see what the commotion was all about, something which lasted for about 15 minutes.

Sadly, even spectators were not spared from the ruckus. One reportedly lost his cool and threw a soft drink bottle which hit the right waist of a lady who instantly crumpled to the floor in pain. Fortunately she escaped injuries.

When the smoke cleared, Ramon Fernandez of Toyota came out with a cut beneath his eye, Crispa’s Rodolfo Soriano got a pebble-sized lump over his right eye while another Crispa player, Rey Franco came out of it with a reddened right ear. Most players came out with marks of punches and clawing.

“Si Soriano, apat ang gumulpi sa kanya” said coach Baby Dalupan. “Wala siyang kalaban-laban.”

Franco for his part ragged Robert Jaworski as the one who punched his ear.

“Inabangan niya ako sa may labas at bigla na lamang niya akong inupakan” Franco said.

Jaworski sternly denied the allegations, claiming he was trying hard to pacify them.

“Basta nakita ko na lang, nagkakagulo. I was even trying hard to pacify them” Jaworski said.

The melee was so serious that even Metrocom authorities stepped in. A total of 21 players from both Crispa and Toyota were arrested even as the PBA was doing its own investigation in what is considered the wildest ever free-for-all in Philippine basketball history. (Brian Yalung)

(To be continued)

(credits: Manila Bulletin, April 18, 1977)

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