U/Tex Wranglers

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U/Tex Wranglers
History
U/Tex Weavers (1975–1976)
U/Tex Wranglers (1976–1982)
Joined PBA 1975
Team colors Blue and yellow (1975–1979)
         
Blue, yellow and red (1977–1978)
              
Black and gold (1980)
         
Blue, yellow, gray and white (1981–1982)
                   
Company Universal Textile Mills, Inc.
Owner(s) Walter Euyang
Head coach Caloy Loyzaga
Narciso Bernardo
Tommy Manotoc
Glenn McDonald
Disbanded 1983
Championships

2 championships

1978 Open
1980 Open

4 Finals Appearances
Uniforms
Kit body blackhorizontal.png
Light jersey
Kit shorts.png
Team colours
Light
Kit body yellowhorizontal.png
Dark jersey
Kit shorts.png
Team colours
Dark

The U/Tex Wranglers were Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) league pioneers having joined the PBA in its maiden season of 1975. The team was owned by the now-defunct Universal Textile Mills, Inc.

History[edit]

MICAA Days[edit]

Not much is remembered or known about the U/Tex Weavers in their MICAA days. They were bannered by Lawrence "Larry" Mumar, Danny Basilan, and Lucio Lim. Others who donned the Weavers jersey were Francis Arnaiz, Ben O'Clarit Jr., Jumbo Salvador, Roehl Nadurata, Clemente Bargas, Gentil Abbas, Orly de los Santos, Domingo Celis, and others.

The U/Tex Weavers led by Freddie Hubalde, Danny Basilan, and Ricky Pineda won the 1973 Dona Edralin Marcos Cup held at the Loyola Center. The Weavers' 4-overtime win over Manilabank was a forgotten classic mainly because of the absence of stars who were preparing for the 7th Asian Basketball Confederation and were off their mother teams. Others in that championship Weavers team included were former college standouts Jess Sta. Maria, Jimmy Santos, and Virgilio "Bong" de la Cruz; and centers Roehl Deles and Romeo Franks.

The team had its big break in 1974 when BAP President Gonzalo "Lito" Puyat pardoned players previously banned for game-fixing and awarded to U/Tex former Crispa players Danilo Florencio and Rudolf Kutch. Both players debuted with U/Tex during the 1974 National Seniors against MLQU. Overall, they finished 2nd next to champion Yco, by virtue of tie-breaking rules, as a muffed Philip Cezar free throw gave them a win over Crispa.

During the 1974 MICAA All-Filipino tournament, Danny Florencio hit a controversial buzzer-beating layup that gave U/Tex a win over the Toyota Comets, coming from 20 points down with 7 minutes remaining. U/Tex earned the right to face Crispa in the MICAA All-Filipino finals. However, Toyota placed the game under protest and the MICAA officials ordered a rematch. U/Tex refused to play and defaulted the rematch, paving the way for first-ever championship meeting between Crispa and Toyota. It was to be the last tournament of the "old MICAA". The MICAA lost its prominence in basketball with the founding of the professional Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in early 1975.

Inaugural PBA season[edit]

When they joined the league in 1975, the Weavers had a lot of notable players on their roster, although not as impressive compared to Crispa-Floro and Toyota Comets. Their top stars includes three big names in the MICAA, Danny Florencio, Larry Mumar and Rudolf Kutch. Other players were Danny Basilan, Egay Gomez, defensive bruiser and rebounding monster Romeo Frank (the person responsible for giving Bogs Adornado the near-career ending knee injury that sidelined him for more than 2 years), Ricky Pineda, Orly de los Santos, Jimmy Otazu, Roehl Deles, Arturo Valenzona, George Lizares, Virgilio Abarrientos and Roberto Victorino. Carlos Loyzaga was the first coach of the Weavers. He replaced Lauro Mumar, who coached the last pro-bound Weavers in the MICAA. The Weavers placed fourth in the first and third conference of their inaugural season.

The following year in the second conference of 1976, the Wranglers acquired Lim Eng Beng, Jaime Noblezada, Romualdo Cabading, Edward Camus, Alfonso "Boy" Mora and Roy Deles from Concepcion Quasar, a franchise for sale and headed for disbandment. U/Tex had the 7'0 goateed Dan Knight and the Caucasian Lee Haven, returning in his second tour of duty for U/Tex, as their imports.

After the first conference of the 1977 PBA season, coach Narciso Bernardo, who replaced Carlos Loyzaga at the start of the season when Loyzaga moved to Tanduay Distillers, decided to quit, Tommy Manotoc, who was then team manager, took over the head coaching job. Their first breakthrough came in the second conference when U/Tex became the second team after Mariwasa-Honda to break the Crispa-Toyota monopoly on the PBA Finals. The Wranglers were earlier involved in the league's first-ever trade where they shipped Danny Florencio and Jaime Otazu to 7-Up Uncolas for veterans Carlos Rodriguez and Cristino Reynoso. U/Tex lost to Crispa in the Open Conference finals in five games, the Redmanizers had only Cyrus Mann as their import since his partner, Ricky Hicks, have long left, as Mann went up against the Wranglers' imports Charlie Neal and Byron "Snake" Jones.

Championships[edit]

In 1978, U/Tex bolster its lineup with the acquisition of rookies Anthony Dasalla and Renato Lobo, both from FEU Tamaraws. The Wranglers finally won their first title in the second conference – the first for a team not named either Crispa or Toyota. The championship victory over Crispa where the Wranglers scored a 3-0 sweep, avenged their loss to the same Redmanizers in the previous Open conference, this time, the Wranglers were powered by the pair of Bryon "Snake" Jones and Glenn McDonald. U/Tex's top local player Lim Eng Beng made it to the year's best Mythical first team.

The 1979 season was not a good year for the Wranglers. They lost center Rudolf Kutch to Filmanbank via free agency.[why?] But they came back the succeeding 1980 season when they brought back Glenn McDonald alongside the 6'8 Aaron James, another legitimate NBA veteran who played with the New Orleans Jazz. Aside from that, they traded for Bogs Adornado in exchange for P 100,000 with Crispa. Manotoc and Andy Jao (then the team's assistant manager and assistant coach) were more than happy to accommodate the two-time MVP although a lot of experts were skeptical of Adornado's capability to come back in his old form. By that time, U/Tex's motley set of local players included, apart from Adornado and Beng, brothers Ricky and Mollet Pineda, Jimmy Noblezada, Matthew "Fritz" Gaston, Dave Regullano (plucked from Royal Tru Orange). The Wranglers lost Anthony Dasalla and Renato Lobo to CDCP via free agency and signed Rodolfo "Ompong" Segura, 1977 ROY Jaime Taguines, and Jesusito "Chito" Martin to fill their shoes.

Two major incidents happened in the 1980 Open Conference. The first one was the famous quote of Coach Manotoc after Game 4 of the Finals between the Wranglers and the Tamaraws. In that game, with less than 7 minutes left and the Tamaraws ahead by 11 points (U/Tex was ahead in the best of five series, 2-1), Manotoc pulled out all his starters including the two imports in an apparent sign of surrender. After the game, when asked by reporters why he gave up with so much time remaining, Manotoc quipped, "one step back, two steps forward", referring to his tactic of reserving his players' energy in preparation for sudden death game 5. Manotoc was severely criticized for this, to the point that reporters were suggesting to then Commissioner Leo Prieto to sanction him. But two days after, Manotoc justified his actions when Game 5 went into overtime. This is when the second incident happened. Prior to the overtime, the Tamaraws were ahead by 4 points with 16 seconds left. The Wranglers overhauled this 4-point deficit, sent the game into OT, and won the series. Only 8 players suited up for U/Tex in that game, and the Wranglers were on their last ounce of strength that McDonald and Lim fainted after the game. Manotoc just gave the Euyang franchise its second title in three years. Adornado cracked the Mythical 5 for the 3rd time in his PBA career, a classic case of retribution.

Post-championship[edit]

The 1981 was another good season – Adornado winning his 3rd MVP award while powering the Wranglers to the 1981 Reinforced Finals. They lost to Crispa, powered by 6'1 Al Green in four games. U/Tex, was already coached by McDonald when Manotoc stepped down only to resurface the succeeding season to coach the San Miguel Beermen. U/Tex was reinforced by the 6'3 Leroy Jackson. The next season, Julius Wayne reinforced the Wranglers in the Reinforced Conference only to end up short. They also brought back James but he struggled as U/Tex was saddled with the penalty of having to play one import at a time brought about by their previous year's championship performance. As such, it was Gilbey's Gin who benefited from this as the prolific import pair of Larry McNeil and Lew Massey brought the La Tondeña franchise to its first finals stint. They lost via a sweep to the rampaging Toyota Super Corollas that were led by imports Andy Fields and Donnie Ray Koonce.

In 1982, U/Tex underwent a major revamp. The Wranglers acquired Gary Vargas from the disbanded CDCP franchise, former Ateneo Blue Eagle Steve Watson, Carlson Samlani, bad boy Oscar Rocha, Gregorio "Joy" Dionisio, Evalson Valencia, the late Danilo Pribhdas. Lim Eng Beng, who could not get along with Coach Glenn McDonald, was traded to San Miguel for shooter Alex Tan. Ricky Pineda and Jimmy Noblezada, veterans of 2 Wranglers championships, were not re-signed. Julius Wayne reinforced the Wranglers in the Reinforced Conference and they brought back François Wise and Ira Terrell from the disbanded Tefilin franchise. Terrell was later replaced by Leroy Jackson.

U/Tex was brought down by the rising cost of player salaries and was also hit by the economic crisis (Dewey Dee, PhilFinance) that befell the country even before the Ninoy Aquino assassination. The textile business was already bad, brought about by the entry of different players from the international market. The players were spread out to different teams – with Adornado going to Great Taste, Gaston joined SMB prior and later to Crispa, Gary Vargas and Steve Watson to Gilbey's Gin, Samlani gone to San Miguel, and Valencia to CountryFair.

Season-by-season records[edit]

Legend
     Champion
     Runner-up
     Third place
Season Conference Team name Overall record Finals
W L  %
1975 First Conference U/Tex Weavers 26 23 .531
Second Conference
All-Philippine
1976 First Conference 27 23 .540
Second Conference
All-Philippine
1977 All-Filipino Conference U/Tex Wranglers 27 23 .540
Open Conference Crispa 3, U/Tex 2
Invitational Conference
1978 All-Filipino Conference 27 14 .614
Open Conference U/Tex 3, Crispa 0
Invitational Conference
1979 All-Filipino Conference 23 21 .523
Open Conference
Invitational Conference
1980 Open Conference 24 28 .462 U/Tex 3, Toyota 2
Invitational Championship
All-Filipino Conference
1981 Open Conference 34 19 .642
Reinforced Filipino Conference Crispa 3, U/Tex 1
1982 Reinforced Filipino Conference 25 33 .400
Invitational Championship
Open Conference
Overall record 213 184 .537 2 championships

Team roster (1975–1982)[edit]

In alphabetical order. Members of PBA Hall of Fame and PBA's Greatest Players are in boldface.

  • William "Bogs" Adornado #33
  • Danny Florencio #8
  • Lim Eng Beng ✝ #14 & #24
  • Virgilio "Billy" Abarrientos
  • Armando Arce #18
  • Danny Basilan #14
  • Romualdo Cabading
  • Edward Camus
  • Aurelio "Boy" Clariño
  • Gil Cortez #13 & #16
  • Benjamin Chua
  • Anthony Dasalla ✝ #9
  • Virgilio "Bong" dela Cruz #12
  • Roehl Deles
  • Roy Deles #5
  • Orly delos Santos
  • Gregorio Dionisio #30
  • Romeo Frank #15
  • Fritz Gaston #10 & #22
  • Edgardo Gomez
  • Rudy Hines #11
  • Rudolf Kutch #13
  • George Lizares
  • Renato Lobo #7
  • Jesusito Martin #10
  • Alfonso Mora
  • Larry Mumar #7
  • Jimmy Noblezada #19 & #8
  • Albert Ortiz #21 & #6
  • Jaime Otazu
  • Rey Pages #12
  • Ricky Pineda ✝ #9 & #6
  • Molet Pineda #7
  • Danny Pribhdas #13
  • David Regullano #17
  • Cristino Reynoso ✝
  • Oscar Rocha #13
  • Carlos Rodriguez
  • Carlson Samlani #7
  • Ompong Segura #18 & #15
  • Jaime Taguines #9
  • Alex Tan #5
  • Marty Tierra #50
  • Evalson Valencia #17
  • Arturo Valenzona #23
  • Tito Varela #13
  • Gary Vargas #11
  • Roberto Victorino
  • Steve Watson #44

Roberto Concepcion Toyota # 5

Imports[edit]

  • Charles Walker (1975)
  • Mike Truell (1975)
  • Lee Haven (1975–1976)
  • Dan Knight (1976)
  • Charlie Neal (1977)
  • Byron "Snake" Jones (1977–1978)
  • Henry Williams (1978)
  • James Robinson (1979)
  • Glenn McDonald (1978–1980)
  • Aaron James (1980)
  • Darrell Allums (1981)
  • Francois Wise (1981–82)
  • John Kazmer (1981)
  • Leroy Jackson (1981–82)
  • Julius Wayne (1982)
  • Ira Terrell (1982)
  • Leo Cunningham (1982)
Preceded by
(start)
PBA teams genealogies
1975–82
Succeeded by
Manhattan