THE Miami Heat had to claw back from 27 points down to beat a Cleveland Cavaliers squad missing its top three players, 98-95, on Thursday morning (Wednesday night in Cleveland) to extend their winning streak to 24 games.
That Miami run is already the longest winning streak by a defending champion in NBA history and the second-longest in the league’s annals.
The LeBron James-led Heat are also now nine away from equalling the NBA record of 33 straight wins in a regular season recorded by the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1971-72 season, a streak which incidentally Miami president Pat Riley was part of as a player.
In the PBA, the all-time record for longest winning streak is held by Crispa which won 21 straight games during their grand slam season in 1983.
The Redmanizers, who were bannered by MVP Abet Guidaben, Philip Cezar and Atoy Co, lost their very first game of the season then swept the rest of the conference – 12 games in all -- en route to winning the All-Filipino (First) Conference as well as their first nine games with Billy Ray Bates en route to also winning the Reinforced crown.
That 1983 feat surpassed the previous record which the Redmanizers themselves set three seasons earlier in the 1980 All-Filipino Conference where they won their first 19 games from the eliminations up to Game Two of the best-of-five Finals.
In recent years, however, the longest win streak has been 13 – recorded separately by Alaska, Barangay Ginebra, and Talk ‘N Text.
The Aces, with Sean Chambers as import, recorded their 13 wins in a row in the 1996 Governors Cup, a win streak spanning the elims to Game Three of the Finals en route to winning the grand slam.
The Gin Kings won 13 straight games in the 2008 Fiesta Conference with Chris Alexander as import - the streak starting in the elims and ending in Game One of the Finals. They went on to win the championship in that conference, Barangay Ginebra’s last taste of champagne.
Talk ‘N Text had a 13-game win streak in the 2010 Fiesta Conference elims with Shawn Daniels as import. But the Tropang Texters failed to win the championship in that conference as they lost to eventual champion Alaska in their best-of-seven semis, despite holding a 3-2 series lead.
Talk ‘N Text actually nearly duplicated that 13-game win streak, winning 12 in a row in the 2011 Commissioner’s Cup. The Tropang Texters, with Paul Harris as import, lost their first game of the conference, a 103-98 upset against Smart-Gilas then ran off 12 straight victories up to Game One of the Finals. But unlike its 13-game win streak, TNT went on to win the championship this time, beating Barangay Ginebra in the Finals, 4-2.