1985–1988: Ginebra San Miguel
By 1985, Gilbey's was renamed as Ginebra San Miguel. However, Ginebra failed to enter the finals in each of the three conferences, showing only a strong finish in the Reinforced Conference.
With Jaworski and Arnaiz at the forefront, it grew as the former Toyota players tandem infected the team with the legendary Toyota fighting spirit:
- The biggest manifestation was when, Jaworski came back from the nearby Medical City with seven stitches in his lip to lead the Gins to a come-from-behind victory against NCC. Jaworski incurred this from a wayward elbow inflicted by Jeff Moore in the second quarter. But with them behind by 15 points going into the final seven minutes of the game, Jaworski re-entered the court and sparked a frenzy that to date, has yet been matched. The NCC team simply froze upon the sight of the Big J and didn't know what hit them, eventually losing to the Gins.
Michael Hackett also saw his name in the PBA record books by scoring 103 points in Ginebra's 197–168 victory against Great Taste on November 21, 1985. This was later broken by Swift's Tony Harris in a 1992 game against Ginebra.
Former Crispa import Billy Ray Bates was brought in for the 1986 Open Conference. Each PBA team was allowed to get two imports for the said conference. Bates' other partner was Michael Hackett, who was the 1985 Open Conference Best Import. It is believed that the pair was the greatest import tandem in PBA history.
The two lead Ginebra in the Finals of the tournament against Manila Beer (formerly Beer Hausen), with Abet Guidaben and imports Michael Young and Harold Keeling. Bates and Hackett powered Ginebra to a 4–1 win in the series to win the 1986 PBA Open Conference and give the team its first-ever championship.
Unfortunately, Francis Arnaiz suddenly left for the United States before Ginebra won its first championship, ending his 11-year career and tandem with Jaworski.
Famous quotes containing the word san:
“We had won. Pimps got out of their polished cars and walked the streets of San Francisco only a little uneasy at the unusual exercise. Gamblers, ignoring their sensitive fingers, shook hands with shoeshine boys.... Beauticians spoke to the shipyard workers, who in turn spoke to the easy ladies.... I thought if war did not include killing, Id like to see one every year. Something like a festival.”
—Maya Angelou (b. 1928)