Jose Ma Bonifacio Escoda Excerpt from my forthcoming 380-page(more or less) = Basketball History :Philippines
National team versus NBA Stars
This June marked the first time in Philippine history that a NBA team to set upon the Philippine soil and play against Filipinos.
The sensational Pete Maravich of Detroit Piston who was earlier mentioned to be included failed to come.
The all-star team made up only of eight members came to play against the Puerto Rico–bound team in a three game series at Araneta coliseum. They were Gail Goodrich (L.A. Lakers, 6’1”); Elgin Baylor, (L.A. 6’5”), third greatest scorer in NBA history; Earl “the Pearl” Monroe (6’3”,195 lbs., star player of New York Knicks);Jim Price(6’3”,L.A. Lakers);Dave Bing (6’3”, shootingest Detroit Piston); Geof Petrie (6’4”, averaged 24 points in 79 games in NBA); and Elvin Hayes (6’9” 235 lbs., one of the best rebounders and shooters of NBA).
Jim Price then was Jerry West’s apparent heir.The local fans never expected a victory by the local boys but were just eager to witness their idols compete against the best cagers of the world.
Before the games started, one of the NBA players the American NBA professional cagers admitted to the press that they were surprised to find Metropolitan Manila as a modern city. The admitted they were expecting to see banana plantations and palm trees.
Playing against the best in Asia never intimidated the American pros. Elgin Baylor boasted with this statement, “no amateur team in the world can beat us.” The Filipino players felt challenged.
The locals wanted to disprove such words and gave their best but failed. The first two games were handily won by the pros, 104-92 and 117-94.
The locals could not find their range, the shooting was a mess. Their famed switching man to man wouldn’t work and the whole team’s timing was off. Their lead could be much higher if the pros didn’t clown in the closing minutes.
The first two turned out to be learning lessons rather than tune-up games for the World Cup. The locals learned that they should not dribble too much, not just to stand around and wait for the ball, not to hold on to the ball long enough to let your guard crowd you, and not to linger in the backcourt after scoring.
With their national pride at stake and with the lessons learned they gave all their best were in a winning form, but collapsed in the third quarter just losing by six points losing, 99-93.
During the fourth encounter the boys gained confidence and appeared they could defeat their immortal opponent. With their national pride hurt the tune-up games turned to a personal affair.
During the succeeding two games, the Filipinos, with improved defense patterns, were able to answer the giant’s point per point. But, again, only collapsing in the third quarter and losing with wider margins the score 110-97 and 118-104 in the last game.
The fans were surprised to see Fernandez’s lay-up easily blocked by the shortest NBA player, 5’9” Calvin Murphy. Murphy also surprised the crowd with his dunk shots cause not even the tallest Filipino could do such. But the gutsy Arnaiz was able to slip through the tall burly Americans with his drives and high looping shots. But the Filipinos appeared dwarfs who were just learning the sport.
Jaworski prove himself as the best local cager when playing against tall and tougher foreign teams. He was the most consistent among the locals in the defense and offence and topped the statistics with 18.38 points per game.
Elgin Baylor saw something in Jaworski’s playing style, something most local fans fail to see. The NBA veteran had all praises for the Big J saying, “He’s not rough but just plays the international brand of basketball.”
Adornado, after coming from the sick bay, impressed some foreigners including a NBA agent. After one of the games the identified agent of players in the NBA approached Adornado, asked whether he was interested in being included in NBA’s list of drafts.
Sports scribes who were excited in taking pictures and get ambush interviews outside the players dug outs overheard it. Adornado who was being mobbed by fans and reporters and bent focus on the coming Puerto Rico games failed to give the American a definite answer.
In one of the dailies, the story ran that Adornado was being recruited for a European team. On the other hand, Adornado was never approached again.
Adornado goes down to history as the first Filipino to be offered such. Players and the rest of the Filipinos didn’t know that being in the draft choice in the NBA was a great honor enough.
Credits to Sir Nardy of Interbasket. This is a good article.