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The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is a professional basketball league in the Philippines founded in 1975. It is the first and the oldest professional basketball league in Asia. The league's rules are a hybrid of FIBA's and the NBA's rules.

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History of PBA

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 sent 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 City 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.


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 in a year.

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.

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.


The PBA has a hybrid of FIBA and NBA rules:

1. A game consists of four 12-minute quarters, the NBA standar
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. Team fouls and penalty situations carry over in overtime periods whenever applicable.
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 the Fiesta Conference limits imports of one per team.

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.


* Leopoldo Prieto (1975-1983)
* Col. Mariano Yenko (1983-1987)
* Atty. Rodrigo Salud (1988-1992)
* Reynaldo Marquez (1992-1993)
* Emilio Bernardino, Jr. (1993-2002)
* Jose Emmanuel Eala (2003-2007)
* Renauld Barrios (2008-present, officer-in-charge from 2007-08)

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 jail.

Other famous contests include:

* Crispa vs Toyota
* Ginebra vs Purefoods (late-1980s rivalry, both are now sister teams)
* Añejo/Ginebra vs Shell (early-1990s rivalry)
* Purefoods vs. San Miguel (1990s All-Filipino Conference rivalry)
* Purefoods vs. Alaska (1990s All-Filipino Conference rivalry)
* Añejo vs San Miguel (late-1980s rivalry, the "sister team" rivalry)
* Ginebra/Gordon's Gin vs Alaska (late-1990s 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)
* San Miguel vs. Talk 'N Text
* Barangay Ginebra vs. San Miguel
* Barangay Ginebra vs. Talk 'N Text
* Rain Or Shine vs. Barangay Ginebra


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  1. Cool! Now I know where I should go if there's a PBA game and I like to watch it online. Thank you for sharing it. By the way I also want to share to you where you can find latest PBA news online -->

  2. Red Bull vs. the San Miguel franchises (Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel and Purefoods

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