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By Henry L. Liao
In PBA history, the multiple-conference record for the longest winning streak belongs to the 1983 Crispa Redmanizers.
During the second of their two Grandslams (winner in each of the three conferences in a season), the Redmanizers were victorious in their final 12 games in the All-Filipino (1st) conference after dropping their season-opening assignment. The Floro-owned franchise, behind import Billy Ray Bates, then started the Reinforced Filipino (2nd) conference with nine consecutive wins for a combined 21-game winning streak over two seasons.
Mentored by Tommy Manotoc, Crispa also romped away with the Open (3rd) conference for the Grandslam, finishing the season with a 46-16 (.742) record overall.
Alberto (Abet) Guidaben was voted the league’s Most Valuable Player. He was joined on the Mythical Team by Fortunato (Atoy) Co Jr. and Philip Cezar.
During the 1980 season from September 30-December 9, the Walk Tall Jeans/Crispa Redmanizers zoomed to a 19-0 record during the All-Filipino (3rd) conference. It was looking for a 20-game conference sweep heading into the third game of the best-of-five finals against the Toyota Tamaraws. It was not to be as the Tams escaped with a 97-94 decision following the firing of head coach Fortunato Acuna at HALFTIME of the game. Toyota team manager Pablo Carlos gave Acuna the pink slip after he refused to field in Robert (Sonny) Jaworski throughout the first 24 minutes.
The Redmanizers eventually won in Game 4, 105-91, and romped away with the All-Filipino diadem, registering a 20-1 finish.
Still, the 19-game win skein by Crispa remains the longest winning streak for a single conference. In the last two decades, there have been three 13-game winning streaks.
In the 1996 Governors Cup, the Alaska Aces, built around import Sean Chambers, posted 13 consecutive victories, spanning from the elimination phase to the third game of the finals before finishing off Jaworski’s Ginebra in five games en route to the crown and a Grand Slam.
Barangay Ginebra, bannered by import Chris Alexander, also won 13 straight games during the 2008 Fiesta Conference (the second of only two conferences that year), turning in the trick from the elims to the semifinals before dropping the best-of-seven finals opener against Air21. The Gin Kings roared back to capture the title in the maximum seven games.
In the 2010 Fiesta (2nd) conference, Talk ‘N Text, powered by import Shawn Daniels, chalked up 13 consecutive victories during the elimination round. Unfortunately, the Tropang Texters failed to advance to the finals after blowing a 3-2 lead against eventual titlist Alaska in their best-of-seven semifinal duel.
What about the other end of the spectrum?
Blackwater Elite lost all of its 11 games in the ongoing All-Filipino conference. Over multiple seasons, it was beaten in 19 consecutive appearances, having dropped its final eight games in the 2020 “bubble” competitions in Pampanga, for the longest losing streak in PBA history.
The infamous record for most consecutive losses in a single conference in PBA history belongs to Shopinas.com (nee Air21) Clickers, who were 0-14 during the 2011-12 Philippine Cup from October 5-December 8, 2011. Coach Franz Pumaren remembers this two-month famine pretty well.