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Saturday, October 8, 2011

MICAA in the Sixties

Originally posted by my brother, George Mercado, in mypba.com on August 18, 2006.

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Teams like Chelsea, Seven Up, San Miguel, Philippine Airlines, Yutivo, Puyat Steel, Ysmael Steel, and Yco were the headliners during those days. 

Chelsea was the mother team of the illustrious Kurt Bachmann. I believe this was the same company that manufactured Chelsea cigarettes. 

Seven Up's team was called the Marauders and was owned by the Syjuco family. It was also the first team for Ateneo superstar Baby Boy Morales. 

PAL's team was made up of a mix of actual employees---a lot of them pilots and cabin crew memberslike Capt. Aldanese and Joe Laganson---and some college standouts mostly from UST. They also had the distinction of fielding the first legitimate imports in the persons of 6'7" Charles James and 6'2" Eric Paulsen back in the late 60s. 

Yutivo, one of the biggest distributors of General Motors cars back then---as in Chevrolet, Opel, Holden, Vauxhall, et al---was known as the bad boys of the MICAA. Ernie Morales, Tembong Melencio, and Julian Macoy were just some of the more colorful characters from that team. If memory serves me right, Charlie Badion was also part of this team---he with the patented bicycle drive. He also had two missing front teeth which proved to be convenient in spitting on defenders' eyes when he was doing the bicycle. 

Puyat Steel of course was the baby of patriarch Gonzalo Puyat. You can still see their facility along Guadalupe and EDSA beside the Pasig River. They boasted of having the tallest import at that time---6'9" Tom Dose. He teamed up with John Isaacs and brought the Galvanizers to a respectable finish. 

The Admirals of Baby Ysmael---as in Admiral appliances--- of course had Narciso Bernardo, Felix Flores, Orly Bauzon, Nat Canson, Boy Arazas, sharpshooter Boy Marquez, Eddie Pacheco---who used to be Footballer of the Year---and burly Big Boy Reynoso. Their coach then was Tito Eduque. He was eventually released, and Baby Ysmael took over the reins himself. I still remember the front page photo on the Manila Times when the whole team including Eduque had their heads shaved when they lost a crucial Game 2 to the Yco Painters. The Admirals eventually broke up, and most of their players found their way to Meralco---to join forces with Bobby Jaworski, who came from Yco. 

Speaking of Yco, the Painters were the most successful team of the 50s and 60s, what with the incomparable Carlos Loyzaga in their roster. This was the age of the Elizalde franchise, and the nice thing about it is that the Painters were called the nice boys of basketball. Always respectful, decent, clean-shaven, neatly-dressed. Their deportment on and off the court was exceptional. Freddie Webb went straight to Yco from Letran, Rene Canent and Ed Gomez from JRC, and a whole slew of basketball greats. 

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