Written by Chuck Miller

Albany Patroons v. Puerto Rico Coquis
Municipal Stadium, San Juan, P.R.
March 22, 1984
Albany's second-round victory in the 1984 playoffs

Tree frogs indigenous to the island of Puerto Rico.

If you ever see this question on "Jeopardy!" and you want to impress your friends, simply respond, "What are coquis?"

Of the four expansion teams in the CBA's 1983-84 season, the Puerto Rico Coquis surprised everybody by winning the Eastern Division regular season title. Part of that success came from Puerto Rico's CBA Player of the Year, Geff Crompton, who earned a call-up to the NBA.

The Coquis' opponent in the second round of the playoffs were the Albany Patroons, fresh from a come-from-behind series victory over the Bay State Bombardiers.

Surprisingly, Puerto Rico gave up the home-field advantage by requesting the first two games at home, then playing the last three in Albany. Giving up the home field advantage is not unnatural - the 1990-91 Albany Patroons gave up home field advantage in the playoffs because of a Grateful Dead concert at the Knick. But in a Sport magazine article, Pats' assistant coach Charley Rosen theorized that with Crompton gone, the Coquis management feared losing the first two games in Albany, thus receiving only one game's revenue in San Juan.

So the Pats and all touring fan club showed up in San Juan, the Albany contingent clearly outscreaming and outcheering the Puerto Rico crowd. The Coquis came out strong in the first half, led by forwards Mark Smith (22 first-half points) and Larry Lawrence (13 first-half points).

By the third quarter, however, Albany had gotten their game back in gear. Andre Gaddy and Ralph McPherson combined for 14 points, spurring Albany back into the game with a five-point lead, 79-74.

But the big difference between Albany and Puerto Rico was in converting free throws. Lowes Moore - 5 for 5. Ralph McPherson - 10 for 12. Rudy Macklin - 3 for 4. Andre Gaddy - 8 for 10. Penny Elliott - 4 for 6. On the other side of the fence, Billy Goodwin - 2 for 5. Norm Ancrum - 4 for 8. And Larry Lawrence - zero for 5.

And although Smith finished with 33 points, his early foul trouble kept him on the bench for most of the third and fourth quarters.

As the fourth quarter started, the tensions reached new heights. Ralph McPherson intercepted a Mike Holton pass and zipped for the basket. Holton chased McPherson, stride for stride. As McPherson shot the ball, Holton bumped him into the floor. McPherson got up, pointed at Holton, and shoved him back. The shoving match drew both benches, but the officials quickly restored order. McPherson drained both foul shots, putting Albany head 83-82, and the game resumed.

The Coquis caught up again, and tied the game at 95 with less than three minutes left in the game. McPherson released an 18-foot airball, which Puerto Rico's Darryl Browder intercepted. Browder tried a bounce pass to Smith, but Andre Gaddy stole the ball and passed it to Lowes Moore, who shot an easy two points.

With less than thirty seconds to play and Albany leading 102-100, Moore worked the ball down the court, guarded by Puerto Rico's Matt Clark. Moore stood there, bouncing the ball and looking for an opening. With the shot clock down to less than ten seconds, Moore made a move. So did Clark. Then did the referee. Foul on Clark. Moore converted the two free throws, putting the victory out of Puerto Rico's reach.

The Pats won, 106-105, much to the chagrin of the Puerto Rico faithful, who threw cups and other debris on the playing surface as the game ended. Even after all that, the victory wasn't listed as an official win until a few days later. The Puerto Rico Coquis filed an official protest with the CBA, claiming Albany had too many non-players on the bench - in particular, Assistant Coach Charley Rosen and Trainer Jack Moser. The score was not changed, the victory was allowed to stand - but Rosen was not allowed into Game 2 of the playoffs, forcing him to listen from his hotel to a Spanish radio broadcast of the contest.

Jones 2-5 1-2 5, Rowland 2-9 1-2 5, Moore 4-7 5-5 13, McPherson 6-8 10-12 22, Elliott 0-1 4-6 4, Schweitz 2-8 2-2 6, Sanders 8-14 2-2 18, Macklin 3-6 3-4 9, Gaddy 8-11 8-10 24. Totals 35-69 36-45 106.

COQUIS (105)
Holton 5-8 0-0 10, Clark 2-6 1-2 5, Lawrence 6-13 0-5 13, Austin 0-1 6-8 6, Browder 3-5 0-0 6, Burnell 1-2 0-0 2, Goodwin 4-8 2-5 10, Ancrum 5-10 4-8 14, Smith 14-18 4-5 33, Kuczenski 2-2 2-4 6. Totals 42-73 19-37 105.

ALBANY       25-26-28-27 106
PUERTO RICO  30-32-12-31 105
Three-point goals - Lawrence, Smith. Rebounds: Albany 29 (Gaddy 13), Puerto Rico 41 (Ancrum 10, Smith 10). Assists - Albany 14 (Moore 7), Puerto Rico 16 (Clark 9). Total fouls - Albany 31, Puerto Rico 36. Technical fouls - Lawrence. A-1,052.
The popular movies of the time are "Footloose," "Police Academy" and "Running Brave." Two songs from "Footloose," the title theme and "Let's Hear It For The Boy," become pop hits.
Future Patroon Mike Giomi's two clutch free throws help Indiana to an upset victory over North Carolina in the NCAA tournament semifinals.

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