Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gilbey's Gin (1979 - 1984)

1979-1984: Gilbey's Gin

Joining the league in 1979, it was known as Gilbey's Gin of then-owner Carlos Palanca Jr.'s La Tondeña franchise. Its first head coach was Pilo Pumaren and was bannered by former MICAA standout Willie Tanduyan and imports Larry McNeil and Dean Tolson. Gilbey's managed to placed fourth in the 1979 Invitational tournament.

Willie Generalao won the Rookie of the Year honors during the 1980 season as Gilbey's placed fourth in the All-Filipino tournament.

Gilbey's also changed its name one time as St. George Whiskies when they had a bunch of young teenagers acting as cheerleaders.

In 1982, the Gins made it to their first Finals appearance during the Open Conference. But, they were swept by Toyota team of coach Ed Ocampo, Robert Jaworski, and Ramon Fernandez.

Gilbey's made another Finals appearance in the 1983 All-Filipino but was also swept by Tommy Manotoc's Crispa Redmanizers in the first of three titles won by the fabled Redmanizers squad.

Before the 1984 PBA season, Toyota announced its departure from the league after winning nine titles in nine seasons. As part of an agreement with new team Beer Hausen, the rights of the Toyota players will be acquired by Beer Hausen. The team owned by Lucio Tan is entering its first year in the PBA.

Jaworski and backcourt partner Francis Arnaiz refused to join the Beer Hausen team. This further ingnited the internal Toyota feud between Jaworski and Fernandez which went on for the next several years. With this development, Gilbey's accepted Jaworski, Arnaiz and Arnie Tuadles to name a few while several Toyota players, led by Fernandez, joined Beer Hausen.

Gilbey's suffered another loss in the championship as the Crispa Redmanizers defeated the Gins, 4-1, giving Crispa its last PBA title.

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