Throwback to ’75: A Glimpse At The Very First PBA Annual

What did the PBA, which marks its 49th anniversary on April 9, look like in its inaugural season in 1975? Let’s take a look at its first annual.

On April 9, 1975, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) formally opened at the Araneta Coliseum, becoming the first professional basketball league in Asia. In the very first PBA game, in front of over 18,000 fans, the Marisawa-Noritake Porcelain Makers beat Concepcion Carrier, 101–98, with Gregorio “Joy” Dionisio being credited with the first-ever PBA field goal. The second game featured crowd favorites Toyota Comets defeating the U/Tex Weavers, 105-101.

The PBA was formed by teams in the Manila Inter-Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) to escape the clutches of the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP), then the ruling body of amateur basketball in the country. By declaring itself a professional league, the PBA was effectively beyond the jurisdiction of the BAP.

It’s been 49 years since the pioneering nine teams paraded in the opening ceremonies of Asia’s first play-for-pay league. The PBA has certainly had its share of peaks and valleys, and even today it faces numerous challenges as it tries to navigate through the 2020s in an environment far, far different than what it was in 1975.

But what did the PBA look like 49 years ago? Thanks to basketball historian Jay P. Mercado, we can get a glimpse of the league through the 1975 PBA Annual. Check out these screenshots.

The start of it all

Along with a message from founding commissioner Leo Prieto, the league listed its objectives followed by a summary of its inaugural season.

Analytics in 1975?

Longtime sports journalist Joaquin “Quinito” Henson, who is still writing about the league today, took an early stab at measuring player efficiency way back in 1975.

Rivalry for the ages: Crispa vs. Toyota

Crispa-Toyota (or Toyota-Crispa, depending on your rooting interests) was the definitive Philippine basketball rivalry of the 1970s, and to this day ranks as one of the greatest sports rivalries of all time. Toyota won the first two conference titles in 1975, but Crispa denied the Comets of a grand slam by snatching the third conference title. From there, the seeds of the rivalry were sown. Check out each team’s 1975 roster, a virtual who’s who of PBA legends.

(Banner image from the 1975 PBA Annual courtesy of Jay Mercado)

Rey Remogat ‘Very Happy’ To Finally Represent UP Way Ahead Of UAAP Debut

Sean Chambers Looks To Guide The FEU Tamaraws Back To Prominence

The Last Dance: JD Cagulangan On His Farewell Season And UP’s Bid For Redemption