Last week's Renaldo Balkman meltdown got us reminiscing about past brawls in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). After a quick search on YouTube, we found this grainy footage of a December 1988 game between Añejo Rum and Presto Ice Cream which bore the title "Worst PBA Brawl". It was Game 3 of the best-of-seven series for third place of the Reinforced Conference. Yup, the battle for third place back then was a long best-of-seven affair.
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It all started when Presto's Philip Cezar drove to the basket and was dangerously clotheslined by Añejo's import Tommy Davis. Cezar hit the ULTRA floor hard, got up, and, along with teammate Sonny Cabatu, angrily ran towards Davis, who was smiling, to confront him.
Initially, other players successfully separated the two and appeared to have prevented a full-scale fight. But Cezar apparently said something that irked Añejo's other import Joe Ward, who shoved Cezar hard to re-ignite the tension. Soon, both benches emptied, and the fight eventually spilled into the stands after Ward jumped over the railing to go after Cezar. Presto's Dennis Abbatuan, a feared enforcer during the 80s, sneaked in a flying kick on Davis, which only added fuel to the fire.
The commentator who spoke for much of the clip is most probably Quinito Henson, who used the term "regular brawl" three times to describe what's happening. Finally, Añejo playing coach Sonny Jaworski stepped in and tried to take control of the situation. When the dust had settled, Presto's Atoy Co (who was in civvies) appeared to have been slightly injured.
The amazing part of all this is that no player got suspended, although many of them were assessed heavy fines. By the way, Añejo went on to win the game by the ridiculous score (by today's standards, at least) of 171-145. Here's the clip: