The Crispa Redmanizers will not have the opportunity of exacting vengeance against their arch rivals the Toyota Tamaraws, when the former lost, 65-61, in the grand reunion game last May 30, 2003.
Instead, both teams will bring their historic rivalry to an end as personalities from both Crispa and Toyota are expected to grace this homecoming set at the end of the year. The grand bash, to be opened to the public for a minimum fee, will also serve as the perfect primer for the league’s 50th grand anniversary to be celebrated on April 9, 2025.
In a meeting held at the PBA office recently, 1979 MVP Atoy Co, representing the Redmanizers, and 1976 Rookie of the Year, Gil Cortez, representing the Tamaraws, met with PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and Marketing Director Jo Francisco, to map out the plans in putting this event in place.
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Also present during the meeting were Cignal TV channel manager Von Reinhart Gaa, the PBA’s Special Projects Officer, Roselle Ighot, and this writer.
The two teams were engaged in a sensational, if not hostile, rivalry from 1975 to 1983 where they figured in 10 PBA finals, six of these won by the green-shirted Redmanizers. They also figured in a total of 123 games, with Crispa winning 65 times.
Commissioner Willie Marcial described the rivalry as “the reason for the PBA’s existence.” He added that, “wala ang PBA kung wala ang Crispa at Toyota, sila talaga ang bumuhay at nagbigay ng kulay sa PBA nun unang dekada nito.”
For this reason, the PBA, along with Cignal and TV5, are going all out to make this homecoming a success.
The grand reunion came about after Toyota held a successful 50th anniversary grand party last February. Cortez, who collaborated with the “An Eternity of Basketball” team made up of Atty. Charlie Cuna, Sid Ventura, Noel Zarate and this writer in putting together their Toyota February event, then hosted another party, this time, inviting Crispa superstars, Co, Philip Cezar and Freddie Hubalde last April.
More than the excitement of seeing the personalities that made up both squads, fun-filled games and musical numbers are expected to spice the affair further. There will be a fund-raising drive as the revenues generated from the ticket sales will go to a charitable institution to be selected by both teams.
Also, Crispa-Toyota collectibles and memorabilia, plus replica jerseys and trading cards will be available for sale at the venue. The players present for the event will be there to sign these for the fans.
Live music and entertainment, featuring music from the 70’s and more, will provide further nostalgia with top bands from the 70’s to the present expected to perform.
It will be an afternoon of fun, music and a sentimental journey to the past as the PBA hallmarks the end of the greatest rivalry in Philippine sports.