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List of Articles by Eddie Alinea


 

PBA Turns 35

By Eddie Alinea
PhilBoxing.com
04 Apr 2010

When guard Gregorio Dionisio fired the opening shot to signal the birth of the country’s and Asia’s first ever professional league, not a single soul, except perhaps the Philippine Basketball Association high priests, believed that the venture would see the celebration of its second year.

That was in the hot month of April 1975, 35 years ago and 70 years after the game of basketball was played in the country – incidentally by women at that – when Dionisio, a sentinel of the Concepcion Carrier of the Concepcion Industries franchise, etched his name in the annals of Philippine basketball by starting what was to become the Filipinos’ way of life.
There were birth pains, yes, like players fights, suspension and even detention at Fort Bonifacio as the police authority cracked its whip against court hooliganism that marked the league’s infant years.

Despite these and more problems that beset the league throughout its existence, the PBA grew up like a baby to become the cheapest and most popular sports and entertainment show this part of the world.

Starting this Friday, a weeklong celebration filled with prizes and surprises marks the 35th anniversary commemoration of that day when Dionisio’s basket, made against a lapse in the defense of Mariwasa-Noritake , signaled that the PBA will be here to stay.

That Dioniso and the Carriers lost, 98-101, was of no consequence now in the face of successes and the happiness the league has been providing the millions of its followings in all walks of the Filipinos’ life.

A series of activities has been lined up by the league during that one-week stretch, including the reunion of members of the four teams (Mariwasa-Noritake, Concepcion, U-Tex and Toyota) that saw action during the league's inaugural games that April 9, 1975.
Dionisio, of course, will be in the limelight of the celebration where the remaining players of the opening day twinbill that also featured Toyota’s 105-101 victory over Universal Textiles will be invited any day from Friday until April 18 when the celebration ends.

The PBA is trying to arrange the appearance of remaining players from each ball clubs in every game date of the week long celebration, including cage greats Ramon Fernandez and Robert “Sonny” Jaworski of the Toyota fame.
Big prizes ranging from laptops and television sets will be given away while cash prizes for the PBA Bingo Bola will also be increased in all the playing days in that week’s span.
Special guest performers at halftime of each game day will also spice up the league's anniversary presentation.

"We want to make our 35th anniversary celebration simple yet entertaining and fulfilling especially to basketball fans who have been our life blood and the major reason why the PBA has remained as the country's top sports entertainment throughout these years," said league commission Renauld `Sonny' Barrios.
Former commissioner Rudy Salud, the league’s first legal counsel who could be the remaining survivor of the initial batch of PBA officers, will also be invited.

A two-on-two tournament among the Binibining Pilipinas candidates is also being planned should the idea is approved by the Araneta Coliseum management. More than 140 players representing Crispa, Toyota, Mariwasa-Noritake, Concepcion Carrier, Universal Textiles, Royal Tru-Orange, Tanduay, Seven-Up and Presto played a total of 182 games in the PBA first regular season.

At the end of the regular year, the Toyota Comets. led Jaworski, Fernandez and Francis Arnaiz, ruled the First and Second Conferences with the Crispa Redmanizers, headed by Bogs Adornado, Atoy Co and Philip Cezar, capturing the prestigious Third Conference Christened the All-Philippine championship.


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