WHILE Talk ‘N Text may need to win at least one grand slam and come near Crispa’s 13 championships to be worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as the league's legendary ballclub, some quarters are already beginning to make comparisons between the two teams as far as dominance in the all-Filipino conference is concerned.
This after the Tropang Texters notched their third straight Philippine Cup title with a 105-82 thrashing of Rain or Shine last Wednesday, finishing off their best-of-seven title series via a rare 4-0 sweep.
No team had won three straight all-Filipino titles since Crispa won four straight in 1979, 1980, 1983 and 1984.
There were no all-Filipino tourneys in 1981 and 1982 as the league opted to experiment with the Reinforced Conference in lieu of an all-Pinoy conference where the Finals was already becoming a perennial Crispa versus Toyota showcase.
Talk ‘N Text’s latest triumph was actually its fourth Philippine Cup title in the last five seasons and fifth over the last 10.
And who knows if the Tropang Texters would’ve eventually won in the 2009-10 Philippine Cup tourney had they not walked out of Game Four of their best-of-five quarterfinal against Barangay Ginebra which, after taking a 2-0 series lead, they went on to lose in five games.
Other startling coincidences:
1) When Crispa won its third straight all-Filipino crown in 1983, it was also via a rare 3-0 sweep (the Finals was still a best-of-five affair back then) of Gilbey’s Gin.
2) Talk ‘N Text’s 23-point win over the Elasto Painters last Wednesday was the most lopsided title-clinching game in an all-Filipino conference in the last 30 years. Or since Crispa bludgeoned Gilbey’s Gin 115-84 in Game Three of that 1983 Finals.
3) In winning last Wednesday, the Tropang Texters’ already matched the league record of five all-Filipino titles shared by Crispa and Purefoods. TNT won its five all-Filipino titles in 10 seasons. Crispa won its five in an eight-season span (with no all-Filipino tourney in two of them) while Purefoods won its five in 17 seasons.
4) Talk ‘N Text finished the just-concluded Philippine Cup with an amazing 21-4 win-loss record, or an 84.0% winning percentage, the highest in an all-Filipino conference, or any conference for that matter, likely since Crispa won that 1983 title with a 12-1 record (92.3%).
(The most recent team to win a conference championship with just four or fewer losses overall was Alaska in the 1996 Governors Cup – en route to winning the grand slam – when it had a 15-4 slate.)
By the way, when Crispa won a third straight all-Filipino title in 1983, it went on to win its second grand slam.
For the record, Talk ‘N Text’s lineup in the 2012-13 Philippine Cup title run was composed of Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, Kelly Williams, Jared Dillinger, Jimmy Alapag, Larry Fonacier, Ali Peek, Ryan Reyes, Harvey Carey, Aaron Aban, Pamboy Raymundo, Bambam Gamalinda, Rich Alvarez and John Ferriols.
Crispa’s 1983 All-Filipino Cup title team under head coach Tommy Manotoc had Atoy Co, Philip Cezar, Abet Guidaben, Freddie Hubalde, Bernie Fabiosa, Yoyoy Villamin, Padim Israel, Bay Cristobal, Mon Cruz, Itoy Esguerra and Tito Varela.
Who would have won if these two teams had battled each other, hypothetically?
Talk ‘N Text head coach Norman Black, who had played against the Crispa team in his early years in the PBA as an import, said he would have to be biased in favor of his team.
“I’ll favor Talk ‘N Text of course. Crispa was also very talented and played as a team but we probably have more size. Only Guidaben was their biggest player at that time,” said Black, who had a quick follow-up answer though.
“I just dunno if I can beat Baby Dalupan, if I could outcoach Baby. That’s a huge task in itself,” said Black of the winningest coach in PBA history.