Such was their popularity that whenever these two teams met on the basketball court, Metro Manila's streets would be virtually deserted. Their hardcourt battles lasted nine years, from the League's inauguration in 1975, until Toyota was disbanded in February 1984.
In those years, the two teams dominated the League, with 21 out of the possible 26 PBA titles that were contested between 1975 and 1983 going to either Crispa's or Toyota's trophy cabinets.
The feud began with Crispa winning its first ever meeting with Toyota on May 10, 1975. The Tamaraws subsequently beat the Redmanizers in their next 13 meetings for the year. In 1976, Crispa returned the favor, defeating their rivals also 13 times en route to its first grand slam.
The rivalry continued in the 1977 season, with Crispa winning six out of their ten meetings with Toyota. The Redmanizers again had the edge in 1978, winning five of nine contests.
Toyota got back at Crispa in 1979, scoring 10 victories in 18 matches. They split their 14 games in 1980 as their 10 encounters in 1981 and 12 meetings in 1982.
Crispa-Toyota's last game was on October 9, 1983 with Crispa winning 111-96. The Redmanizers have the all-time head-to-head edge, 63 to 60.
- May 10, 1975 saw the first Crispa-Toyota game in the PBA with 11,000 fans watching at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum. The Redmanizers won, 139-133, but not without untoward incident as Toyota's Oscar Rocha punched Crispa's Bernie Fabiosa with about three seconds left in the contest. PBA commissioner Leo Prieto handed a one-month suspension and a P500 fine to Rocha while Fabiosa was fined P50 for throwing the ball at Cristino Reynoso, who was likewise asked to pay P25 for making dirty hand gestures.
- On April 17, 1977, Crispa defeated Toyota 122-121 in the opening game of the 1977 PBA season that was marred by a post-game rumble at Araneta Coliseum dugout involving players from both teams. It was reported that players from both sides were detained in Fort Bonifacio, Philippine military headquarters, and were released the next morning. Both teams were fined by then-Commissioner Leo Prieto 5,000 pesos each while Toyota coach Dante Silverio was fined for 1,000 pesos for unsportsmanlike conduct.
- During Game three of the 1980 PBA Championship series, Toyota coach Fort Acuña benched team captain Robert Jaworski against Crispa. At this point Crispa were leading by a large margin, and a win would give them the championship, and an unprecedented 20-game sweep of the tournament. During halftime, Acuña was fired by Toyota management for his refusal to put the star player in the game. Inspired by the return of the their team leader, Toyota went on to win the game, but lost the series the next game. Almost a year after the incident, Acuña died from an apparent suicide.
- Toyota defeated Crispa, 3-2, in the 1981 PBA Open Conference with Andy Fields (Toyota) and Byron "Snake" Jones (Crispa) as imports. The series marked the last time both teams met in a PBA championship series.
The rivalry of both teams is still remembered to this day by older basketball fans, sharing countless stories of the historic rivalry. Since the disbandment of both teams, there were a few short-lived rivalries that existed, but not as intense and anticipated as to this rivalry.
It also helped, popularity-wise, some players from both teams garnered instant popularity outside of the playing court. Much was evident such as Jaworski's senatorial victory in 1998, Fernandez's and Philip Cezar's activities within the sport, and the several movie and television show appearances of Atoy Co, Bernie Fabiosa among others.
Crispa-Toyota Reunion Game
A highly anticipated reunion game between both teams was played on May 30, 2003 at the Araneta Coliseum as part of the league's All-Star Weekend festivities.
Although most of the players were already past their prime, it did not look like they lost a step at all as each possession was tenaciously fought. The game was a hotly contested match which saw the lead change hands many times, a virtual flashack to both teams' glory days in the late seventies and early eighties.
Toyota won the reunion game 65-61 but not without some late-game magic from Jaworski. After Bogs Adornado's three-pointer with under a minute left to cut the deficit at 62-61, Toyota teammate and former rival Fernandez passed to ball to Jaworski on the outside. The then-Senator hit the three-pointer to put the game away for good, to the delight of a huge crowd at the Big Dome. Many believed that the play was reversal of the memorable game-winner of Fernandez, from a Jaworski pass, that won the game for the Veterans in the first-ever All-Star Game in 1989, in which both players shook-hands to end their well-documented feud.
The winning Toyota team was coached by Dante Silverio, with Jaworski also lending some of his coaching tactics, while Crispa was coached by the legendary Baby Dalupan.
Terry Saldaña won the MVP of the game after posting a double-double for the Tamaraws. Although the losing Redmanizers called for a rematch, there has been no serious talk of a potential rematch by both teams.
On 28 May 2005, to celebrate the PBA's 30th Anniversary, the League held PBA's Greatest Game, a match featuring many star players from the League's long history. The game featured the Greats Team coached by Robert Jaworski, and a few Toyota players. On the other side, coach Baby Dalupan had his Legends Team, which featured Crispa players. The game was won by the Legends Team, 96-92, but the stars of that match were the greats of the younger generation.
In retrospect, the Crispa–Toyota rivalry was one of the most colorful episodes in Philippine sport, and ensured the popularity of the Philippine Basketball Association and of basketball in the country.
From 1975 to 1983:
|Rookies of the Year||1||1|
|Mythical 5 awards||21||17|
|Best Import awards||2||2|
|PBA 25th anniversary team members||7||4|
|PBA Hall of Fame inductees||6||5|
*including the reunion game in which Toyota won.
Head to head meetings
From 1975 to 1983:
|Year||Crispa Redmanizers||Toyota Tamaraws|