This Day in PBA History: Ward's 75 points not enough in Anejo loss to SMB

Rey Joble

Posted at Nov 22 2021 10:03 PM

"Jumping" Joe Ward is one of the most interesting imports ever to play in the PBA.

Coming in as a replacement of Kevin Gamble, Ward had an impressive PBA debut, scoring 55 points while playing with cramps to lead Añejo Rhum 65. 

Since then, Ward, known as a devout Christian as he would kneel and pray before coming into the game, endeared himself to Añejo fans.

On this day, November 22, 1988, during their 1988 Reinforced Conference semifinals game against eventual champion San Miguel Beer, Ward dropped 75 points, but that wasn’t enough to lead his team to victory as the Beermen went on to win, 127-118.

A few days later, he scored 78 points in the 65ers’ 181-173 win over Shell.

He and Tommy Davis carried much of the scoring load for the 65ers and their partnership was probably one of the most productive duos among imports who played together in the PBA.

Like Ward, Davis came in also as a replacement import, substituting for the great Billy Ray Bates, who played his last conference in the PBA and his game started to decline.

At one stretch, the Ward-Davis partnership produced 4 straight victories, including combining for 122 of the 157 points of Anejo in their overtime win over Purefoods.

Ward scored 63 and Davis added 59 and Jerry Codiñera, then a rookie center playing for Purefoods, recalled how efficient those players were, especially the former, who at some point in the game, would become his defensive assignment.

“He’s a 3-point shooter. Every 3-point shot niyan, kumakatok siya sa floor,” wrote Codinera via Messenger to ABS-CBN News Online. “He’s also very athletic.”

Ward was best remembered for his court antics, for his inspiring performances, but his on-court brilliance would be later on shaded by an ugly incident, which happened late in the conference.

But that’s another story.

Rey Joble is a sports journalist who has been covering the PBA since 1998, and followed the league as a fan way before that. 

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