The team to the Seventh ABC faced a big task. Aside from the pressure of playing at home, the team aimed to make up for the Philippines lousy performance in the past two editions. The team could only manage a bronze medal in the Fifth ABC in Bangkok, their worst finish to date. Two years ago, the team improved to a silver finish in Tokyo, their only loss coming at the hands of the hosts, 69-93.
1973 RP BASKETBALL TEAM: Ramon Fernandez (center); Alberto Reynoso (center); Alberto Guidaben (center)William Adornado (forward); Manuel Paner (forward); Jaime Mariano (forward); Robert Jaworski (forward), Ricardo Cleofas (forward); Rogelio Melencio (guard); David Regullano (guard); Rosalio Martirez (guard); and Francis Arnaiz (guard).
The Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) assembled a team with only five returnees from the last ABC – Robert Jaworski, Big Boy Reynoso, Manny Paner, Bogs Adornado and Yoyong Martirez. A sixth returnee, Larry Mumar, was relegated to the reserve list upon submission of the final 12-player roster by Coach Tito Eduque, who took over from Ning Ramos.
Completing the team were young centers Ramon Fernandez and Abet Guidaben, Dave Regullano, Francis Arnaiz and Joy Cleofas and veterans Jimmy Mariano and Tembong Melencio, who last saw duty four years earlier in Tokyo. Mariano, Melencio, Jaworski and Reynoso were also part of the last Philippine champion team back in 1967 at Seoul.
Again, the Rizal Memorial was the venue of competition from December 18 to 28, 1973. It also marked the biggest ABC to date with 12 participating teams – Philippines, China (Taiwan), Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and first-timers Iran and Pakistan.
The Filipinos bulldozed through the opposition, with a 133-55 massacre of Pakistan on opening day setting the tone. What followed were wins over India (109-73), Indonesia (108-77), Singapore (130-49) and China (88-81). In the next round, the story was the same with wins over Iran (88-80) and Japan (89-68) and repeats over China (101-64) and India (110-84).
In the final game, the Philippines regained the ABC with a 90-78 thrashing of the Koreans. That would mark the last time that an all-Filipino team won the ABC. For winning the ABC, the team also earned a ticket to the 1974 World Championship in Puerto Rico.