Philippine Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
Founded April 9, 1975
Inaugural season [[1975]]
Number of teams 10
Country Philippines
Current champions Philippine - Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters</br> Commissioner's - Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters
Official website

The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), is a men's professional basketball league in the Philippines composed of 10 company-branded franchised teams. It is the first and oldest professional basketball league in Asia and the second oldest in the world after the NBA.[1] The league's regulations are a hybrid of rules from FIBA and the NBA.

The league was founded in Quezon City on April 9, 1975.[2] Its individual team offices are directed out of PBA head offices located in Eastwood City in Quezon City. The league is currently headed by Commissioner Chito Salud.


The Philippine Basketball Association was founded as a "rebellion" of nine teams from the now-defunct Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) which was tightly controlled by the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP; now defunct), the then-FIBA recognized national association. With the BAP controlling the MICAA, the league was de jure amateur as players were only paid allowances, much like what was done on other countries to circumvent the amateur requirement, and to play in FIBA-sanctioned tournaments such as the Olympics. With the PBA out of the BAP's control, they can freely pay salaries to their players, hence, making the PBA the oldest professional basketball league outside the United States; however this also caused the league's players from being barred from playing in FIBA-sanctioned tournaments.

Leopoldo Prieto, the coach for the Philippines at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics was appointed as the first commissioner and Domingo Itchon of Tanduay was chosen as the league's first president. The first game of the league was held at the Araneta Coliseum on April 9, 1975 featuring Mariwasa-Noritake and Concepcion Carrier.

The league's first 10 years was known for the intense rivalry of the Crispa Redmanizers and the Toyota Tamaraws that is still considered as one of the greatest rivalries in league history with big names such as Robert Jaworski, Ramon Fernandez, Francis Arnaiz, Atoy Co, Bogs Adornado, and Philip Cezar to name a few playing for those squads, before both teams disbanded in 1983 and 1984 respectively.

Following their disbandment, the league moved from the Araneta Coliseum to ULTRA in Pasig. There, the league continued to be popular despite several remnants of Toyota and Crispa players suiting up for different teams.

During the mid to late 80s, Jaworski and Ginebra San Miguel became the league's most popular squad for its "never say die" attitude and had intense rivalries with the Tanduay Rhum Masters of Jaworski's then-arch rival Fernandez, and later the expansion Purefoods Corporation of Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codiñera, Jojo Lastimosa and Fernandez.

By the end of the 1980s, San Miguel Beer won numerous championships that included the 1989 Grand Slam under coach Norman Black and former national team stars Samboy Lim and Hector Calma.

In 1989, FIBA voted to allow professionals to play in their sanctioned tournaments, hence the PBA's players are now able to represent the country internationally. In 1990, the league sent its first all-pro squad to the Asian Games finishing a silver medal to China. The PBA would later send three more all-pro squads in the said event.

The early 90's saw the Ginebra and Shell forming an intense rivalry that included Ginebra's walkout in 1990 finals against Shell and the team's dramatic comeback from a 3-1 deficit to beat Shell in the 1991 Open Conference while Patrimonio, Allan Caidic, and a host of others became the league's main attraction.

By 1993, the league moved to the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay and later saw the Alaska Milkmen win the 1996 grand slam and nine titles in the decade.

From 1999-2000, the PBA suffered a controversy after several expatriate cagers arrived on the scene (such as Asi Taulava, Danny Seigle and Eric Menk) and their lineage were questionable with most of the them deported for falsifying documents.

The arrival of dozens of these players was a counter to the fledging Metropolitan Basketball Association, a regional-based pro league formed in 1998. But, the said league eventually folded as expenses and ABS-CBN's abandonment in 2001 led to their demise a year later.

Despite the MBA's disbandment, and the arrival of those players to the PBA, attendance went sour and turned from bad to worst after a huge decline in 2003.

However, the league was able to gain some popularity by 2004, thanks in large part to Barangay Ginebra's run through three PBA championships led by Menk and Mark Caguioa, other marketing aspects and arrival of collegiate stars from the UAAP and the NCAA.

By 2005 the league became active in the national team role under Chot Reyes even when FIBA lifted the suspension of the country following the formation of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas despite a ninth place finish in the 2007 FIBA Asia Championship.

Season format

One constant feature in the PBA is that unlike other leagues, there is no "season champion;" instead, the season is divided into conferences or tournaments (not to be confused with the definition of a "conference" in a sporting context as a grouping of teams based on geography or historical affiliation) wherein the teams compete for the conference cup. The winners of the conference cups do not face each other at the end of the season to determine the season; instead all conference champions are league champions, but winning the All-Filipino conference is the most prestigious conference of the season.

From 1975-2003, a season was usually composed of three conferences. From the 1993 season, the conferences were named All-Filipino, Commissioner's and Governors Cups, usually ending in a best-of-7 Finals series match wherein the winner takes the Conference Cup. If the same team wins all of the conferences, the team is said to be the "Grand Slam" champion. A draft was held on January, with the season-ending Governors Cup ending in December.

In 2004, then-commissioner Noli Eala introduced drastic changes to the season calendar. He reduced the number of conferences from three to two and changed the start of the season from February to October so that the league can accommodate international tournaments that were frequently held from June to September. Another reason for the change in schedule was the popularity of college hoops, the NCAA and the UAAP, whose basketball season runs from June to October each year.

The first tournament is the Philippine Cup, which is held from October to February the following year, where only locals are allowed to play. The second tournament is the Fiesta Conference, held from March to July, teams are allowed to field one foreign player called an "import". The Philippine Cup is identical to the All-Filipino Conference of the previous seasons. The rookie draft is now usually held every August.

By the 2010-2011 season, it was reverted back to the old three conference format, although the October to August season was retained.


All franchises are owned by corporations, and are not based on a geographic locale, therefore they do not play in a "home stadium" and the league per se rents the different stadiums in which the teams play.

A team's name is often divided into three parts; the first is the company name, then the product (can be omitted or merged with the next part), and a nickname - usually connected to the business of the company. For example, the San Miguel Beermen is a team owned by San Miguel Corporation, with the "beermen" nickname denoting the San Miguel Beer product.

The company name rarely changes - it can only change if the franchise is sold or if the mother company transfers the operations of the franchise into another subsidiary. The product name and the nickname often changes, as companies would maximize the publicity the league gives to its products.

Current teams


Teams' following

For years, Barangay Ginebra owns the distinction as the most popular team in the league. The popularity of the club can be traced to the recruitment of the immensely popular backcourt tandem of Robert Jaworski and Francis Arnaiz, both former Toyota players. Fans of Toyota, a team that disbanded in 1983 followed the two stalwarts in Ginebra.[3]

In 2008, however, results of a survey showed that Purefoods shares the honor of being the league's most popular ballclub with Ginebra.[4][5][6] It appeared that Ginebra was the most popular team among men, while Purefoods was the most popular among women.[7] Also, Ginebra was more popular in Metro Manila and Luzon and in classes ABC while Purefoods was more popular in Visayas and Mindanao and in class D. The two teams were tied for most supporters in class E.[8]

Based on the survey results, following Ginebra and Purefoods (which both got 31%) in terms of popularity are Magnolia (21%), Alaska (13%), Sta. Lucia (5%), Red Bull (4%), Talk N' Text (3%), Coca-Cola (1%), and Air 21 (1%).[9]

Notably, the top three teams that have the most supporters have also been considered as the most talent-laden teams. They also belong under the San Miguel Corporation umbrella. With the three teams acquiring players through allegedly lopsided trades and performing strong in the past several seasons, the PBA has been considered by some as an "SMC league".[10]

In August 2010, news of Purefoods' departure from the league surfaced as there were reports that San Miguel tried to sell the food-processing company.[11] It was suggested that even if only the brandname will no longer be used by the team, it will still have a tremendous impact on its big number of fans. However, if the team's core remains intact and the faces of the franchise – Alvin Patrimonio and James Yap – remain with the team, then most fans will probably continue rooting for the squad, just like what happened to Ginebra, which inherited Toyota fans, when it acquired Jaworski and Arnaiz.[12] But the sale did not push through and the Purefoods PBA franchise stayed.[13]

Defunct and guest teams

The most prominent defunct teams are the Crispa Redmanizers and the Toyota Super Corollas.

Among guest teams, most notable was the American Nicholas Stoodley team that won the 1980 Invitational Conference.


The PBA has a hybrid of FIBA and NBA rules:[14]

  1. A game consists of four 12-minute quarters, the NBA standard.
  2. The three-point line's distance is set back to 6.75 m (22.1 feet), which will be FIBA's three-point distance for international competitions after 2010 and all other competitions from 2012. The line was previously 6.25 m (20.6) feet away from the basket, which was FIBA's former three-point distance.
  3. The "key" is now a rectangle as in the NBA. It was previously the FIBA standard trapezoid key. FIBA will adopt the NBA rectangular key at the same time it moves its three-point line.
  4. Post up players can now muscle their way into the basket without automatically getting a foul called.
  5. A player can now hang on the rim after a dunk without getting called for a technical foul.
  6. Zone defenses are allowed, the FIBA standard, although illegal defense was implemented before.
  7. A team enters the penalty situation after the fifth foul in a quarter, each successive foul thereafter entitles the fouled player two free-throw attempts. However, in the last two minutes of regulation, both teams are only allowed one foul to give considering the team is not yet in penalty, as in NBA rules. Overtime periods allow each team to have 2 fouls before entering penalty situation in the first three minutes of it, whereas the last two minutes gives both teams one foul to give, as in NBA rules.
  8. Newcomers enter the league via a draft.
  9. Only Filipinos are allowed to play in every conference; non-Filipinos can play as "imports", and only in certain conferences. Currently in the Commissioner's Cup, imports listed at 6'4' and below are allowed to play. A handicapping system will be used for the Governor's Cup, where imports of varying height can be recruited depending on the team's performance in the last two conferences.

The PBA has also other different rules:

  1. The league implements the Trent Tucker Rule.
  2. In the league, there is a foul called an advantage foul, which is similar to the "unsportsmanlike foul" of FIBA rules. This is called when the offensive player is fouled by an opposing player while in a fastbreak situation without going for the ball. The offensive players team will be given two free throws and will regain the ball.

Key figures



Most of the league's present star players are also members of Philippine national team. Within a 35-year historical period, Filipino basketball fans have seen the likes of Samboy Lim, Allan Caidic, Hector Calma, Ramon Fernandez, Robert Jaworski, Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Alvin Patrimonio, Vergel Meneses, Johnny Abarrientos, Danny Seigle and Danny Ildefonso take centerstage. Ramon Fernandez and Alvin Patrimonio are prominent names, as they are the only players to win four Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards.

On the other hand, Benjie Paras was the first and only player to win the league Rookie of the Year and MVP award at the same time(1989). Vergel Meneses is the only player to win four All-Star MVP awards while Danny Ildefonso is the only player to have won five Philippine Basketball Association Best Player of the Conference Awards.

The league awards the MVP award since 1975 and the Rookie of the Year award since 1976. Other lesser awards are handed out at the end of the season; the Best Player and Best Import of the Conference awards are handed out at the end of the conferences.

PBA champions

The San Miguel Beermen currently is the winningest team, with 18 championships followed by Alaska Aces with 13 crowns. Among disbanded teams, the Crispa Redmanizers have the most championships, with 13, while rival Toyota Super Corollas ended with nine.

The Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters won both the 2010-11 PBA Philippine Cup and the 2011 PBA Commissioner's Cup, their 3rd and 4th championships, respectively.

PBA records and clubs

There are all time records written in Philippine Basketball Association records and there are clubs a player can accomplished such as PBA 2,000 Assists Club, PBA 15,000 Point Club, PBA 10,000 Point Club, PBA 5,000 Point Club, PBA 500 Three-Point Club.


Team encounters are a natural phenomenon in the PBA, and this sometimes results in soaring ticket sales. The most famous matchup was the Crispa-Toyota rivalry of the 1970s. Fans faithfully supported their favorite squads, and had appeared in the multitudes at the Araneta Coliseum, or wherever the archrivals had met. In those days, the players were very passionate. On one occasion, they had engaged in a major brawl. Players from both clubs were arrested and detained for one night in Fort Bonifacio.[17]

Other famous contests include:Template:Citation needed

  • Tanduay vs Ginebra (1986-1987 rivalry)
  • Añejo vs Purefoods (late-1980s rivalry)
  • Añejo/Ginebra vs Shell (1990s rivalry)
  • San Miguel vs Purefoods (late-1980s-1990s rivalry)
  • Purefoods vs Swift (1990s corporate rivalry)
  • Purefoods vs. Alaska (1990s-present rivalry)
  • Añejo/Ginebra vs San Miguel (late-1980s to present rivalry)
  • Ginebra/Gordon's Gin vs Alaska (late-1980s to present rivalry)
  • Alaska vs San Miguel (late-90's to the early millennium rivalry)
  • Red Bull vs. the San Miguel franchises (Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel and Purefoods 2000-2007)
  • Purefoods Tender Juicy/B-Meg Derby Ace vs. Rain or Shine (2009–present, "New Age Rivalry")[18]

Media coverage

The PBA had been covered by television, as well as other media since its opening day. Their current TV and radio partners are Solar Sports (aired on Studio 23) and DZRJ Radyo Bandido 810 respectively. Their former radio partners were DZRH 666 and, until recently, DZSR Sports Radio 918. The PBA can also be watched worldwide through The Filipino Channel via Kapamilya Channel.

Playing venues

A majority of elimination round games are held in the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.[19] When the Araneta Coliseum is unavailable, Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay, Ynares Center in Antipolo, and the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig are additional arenas where some elimination round games are held. Occasionally, provincial games are hosted in selected venues throughout the country. Playoff games are usually held at venues in Metro Manila, most often in the Araneta Coliseum. However, recent incentives to promote the league throughout the country has seen several games held out-of-town, including Game 1 of the 2010–11 PBA Philippine Cup Finals, which was held in Victorias, Negros Occidental. >

External links



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