‘I gave them blanket authority…’ – Danny Floro on the day Crispa folded

It was on February 1, 1984, when the basketball world was rocked following word that the fabled Crispa Redmanizers were disbanding after 10 seasons in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

This was after the team was sold to Shell Chemicals, a 60-percent Filipino-owned company engaged in agricultural development.

At first, it was branded as a “temporary disbandment” by team owner-manager, Danny Floro.

Crispa bids goodbye to Philippine basketball at the end of the 1984 PBA season
Crispa bids goodbye to Philippine basketball at the end of the 1984 PBA season

“Definitely, we are out of the first conference,” Floro said. “If we can get new players from the amateur pool released to the PBA, then we might field a young team in the second or third conference,” he added.

The deal at the time was something that Shell Chemicals negotiated with PBA management which acted on Crispa’s behalf.

“I gave them (the PBA) blanket authority to negotiate for us,” Floro stated. “Whatever is the decision of the PBA will be binding on Crispa.”

Not all Redmanizers would be retained

Under the agreement, the contracts of all Crispa players were to be absorbed by Shell. However, according to sources at the time, not all Redmanizers would be kept.

Only five players were sure of being kept. These were Bay Cristobal, Padim Israel, William Pearson, Lim Eng Beng and Fritz Gaston.

“Those who will not be retained will be traded,” the unnamed source said back then.

In the end, the team, known initially as the Shell Azodrin Bugbusters, kept only Cezar, Fabiosa, Pearson and Cristobal. Freddie Webb was tapped to be the PBA team’s head coach.

As for the other players, Fortunato “Atoy” Co Jr. and Elipidio Villamin ended up moving to Beer Hausen/ Manila Beer after Crispa’s disbandment.

Israel would move to the Tanduay Rhum Makers, joining Alberto Guidaben and Freddie Hubalde.

With the Bugbusters wanting a young team to complement Cezar, Fabiosa, Cristobal and Pearson, added were Sonny Cabatu, Romeo Ang, Leo Austria, Menardo Jubinal, Manuel Marquez and Aldo Perez, who was originally drafted by Manila Beer in the second round of the 1985 PBA Draft.

Crispa’s disbandment came barely a year after archrival Toyota also folded.

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