Metro Manila · Basketball - The Philippines' Most Popular Sport
Basketball was brought to the Philippines by the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) during the early American colonial period, in the first half of the 20th century. Today it is the most popular sport in the country, whether that's played on the streets, at schools, in colleges or in the professional level.
Basketball courts or at least a makeshift basketball hoop in the street can be found in almost every barangay (neighborhood) in Metro Manila. Most villages in the provinces have a basketball court as well with many of them equipped with a little stadium stand made of wood or concrete.
The sport is particularly popular in Philippine universities. Since 1938, the annual University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Basketball Competition has been the most anticipated basketball event for these academic institutions. Among the eight teams, the most bitter rivals are Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and De La Salle University (DLSU).
Similarly, the National Collegiate Athletic Association Basketball Tournament marks the start of the academic year for 10 colleges. Established in 1924, the NCAA is the oldest athletic association in the country. The UAAP, now a very popular tournament, is an offshoot of the NCAA.
The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is the second oldest professional basketball league in the world, right after the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the United States. The PBA is composed of ten company-sponsored and branded teams, such as Barangay Ginebra San Miguel or the Meralco Bolts. Most elimination rounds and playoff games are held at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
In 2014, Philippine representative Gilas Pilipinas participated in the FIBA World Cup in Spain, a first for the Philippines in 36 years to compete in the world stage after winning a silver medal at the FIBA Asia Championships in 2013. The team failed to qualify for the World Cup finals, having won only once out of four games. During its last day at the competition, the Philippines defeated Senegal in an overtime game.
The team got the silver medal in the 2015 William Jones Cup after that and also got gold in the 2015 MVP Cup. However, the team fell short in the FIBA Asia Championship that year. In 2016, the Philippine team qualified for the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament but failed to get to Rio after losing to New Zealand and France.
Represented by Gilas Cadets, and no professional and naturalized players in the team, the Philippine team suffered its worst performance in years.
Smart Gilas Pilipinas meets Iran in the finals of the FIBA Asia Championship 2013 on August 11, to prove it is the best national basketball team all over Asia.