A Brief History of Philippine Basketball

The Philippine team won against Italy, Estonia, Mexico and Uruguay but failed to upset the eventual champion Team USA.

In 1948, the Philippines became the first basketball team to score at least 100 points in Olympic competitions, outclassing Iraq, 102-30.. The team competed in the first ever Far Eastern Championship Games which was incidentally held in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.

There are also indigenous Filipino martial arts such as the Arnis de Mano. Despite competition from emerging sports such as the rejuvenated badminton and the football-powered Azkals, the sport of basketball will forever remain etched in the hearts and minds of the sports-loving Filipino people.

However, all of that would change in the 1900s. The early years of the PBA saw the rivalry of Jaworksi’s Toyota Super Corollas against the Atoy Co-fueled Crispa Redmanizers.

The Philippines also participated in the first ever Olympic basketball tournament, finishing fifth with a 4-1 win-loss record. It was the first play-for-pay basketball league in Asia. Due to the massive influence Spain brought during their 300-year colonization of the islands, Filipinos are more into cockfighting and other forms of social gambling.

It was also during the time of American colonization when the first-ever Philippine national basketball team was formed. Filipinos easily embraced basketball due to its competitive and action-packed nature.

During the 1960s, Philippine basketball became more concentrated in the collegiate and Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) wars that feature the likes of Sonny Jaworski and Ramon Fernandez.

In 1975, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) was established.

The succeeding years of Philippine basketball saw the emergence of newer and fresher basketball talents from the likes of Ricardo Brown, Ato Agustin, Allan Caidic, Benjie Paras and Hector Calma to the later generations of Danny Seigle, Danny Ildefonso, Kenneth Duremdes, Asi Taulava and Mark Caguioa.

During the 1950s, the Philippines unleashed the legendary tandem of Lauro Mumar and Carlos Loyzaga, resulting into neck-to-neck battle against basketball some of the top powerhouse teams of the world including the US and the Soviet Union.

Prior to the 1900s basketball was virtually an unknown sport in the Philippines. Bowing only against China in 1921 and settling for a silver medal finish.

Today, basketball still remains as the number one sport in the Philippines. Similarly, the collegiate leagues the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the University Athletic Association of the Philippines were established in 1924 and 1938 respectively.

The Philippines finished third in the 1954 FIBA World Champions courtesy of Mumar and Loyzaga. The entry of the Americans into the Philippine archipelago marked the birth of basketball in the Philippines. Cockfighting, gambling and Arnis de Mano dominated the Philippine sports landscape.

College and universities also started to embrace the sport of basketball, incorporating the sport in their physical education curriculum. The dynamic duo also led the Philippines to several Asian Games gold medals during the decade.

The Philippines dominated basketball tournaments of the Far Eastern Championship Games, finishing with a gold medal in all but one edition of the Games

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