1977: The year Adamson won it all

November 08, 2017

by Gerry Plaza


It was surely one memorable season.

All of Adamson University’s closely-knit community converging at the Rizal Coliseum on October afternoon in 1977, filling it to the rafters, anticipating what seemed an impossibility.

Winning the UAAP championship.

While dominant teams such as UE, FEU and UST all took the reigns in the last forty years of the league by that time, no one gave Adamson even a slim chance to break the monotony.

But one brilliant point guard provided the Falcons the needed spark that made the San Marcelino-based squad’s dream come true.

Hector Calma was just a scrappy 5’8” late teener who didn’t even expect to make the team, given his diminutive, lean frame. But what Adamson coach Moises Urbiztondo saw in Calma was that court wizardry, leadership, and intelligence no other guard at that time could deliver.

He was fast, smart, and always provided sense in any offense or defense the team played. Best of all, he directed the plays Urbiztondo laid out and saw to its “symphonic” execution with all his teammates knowing their roles in seeming perfect harmony. 

And, even with an average height of about 6’2” in Season 40, the Falcons stood tall and beat the giants of the league, including the Goldies, the Red Warriors, and the Tamaraws. Their strategy was choking defense on the entire stretch of the court, as Calma would even read the plays of the opponents and instigate defensive stops that would trigger a fluid transition offense.

His dazzling play carried the Falcons to their romp to the 1977 Finals against another rare contender, the UP Maroons. Indeed, this playbill was so out of the norm that it ignited hysteria on both campuses, with Adamson seeking its first title ever and UP, its lone championship in about four decades. 

But with the sophomore Calma leading the way for the Falcons, with the able support of Randy dela Rosa, Emmanuel Apaoan, Luisito Cabiles, Nardy Macam, Jaime Rosario, Antonio Sayson, Edgardo Wycoco, Perlito Danan, Alfonso Jovero, Roberto Valerio, and Cielito Santos, they were simply too much for the Maroons.

Their backbreaking defense brought UP to its knees, pulling away in the endgame with precision fastbreaks to savor its first ever, and to this day, its only UAAP seniors basketball title in front of a frenzied Adamson gallery, who had earlier celebrated the championship win of its juniors squad, the Baby Falcons. It was a double title victory that made the year identified with the Vincentian-run school in collegiate sports annals.