Thursday, January 5, 2012

DID YOU KNOW THAT? Basketball team of the Philippines

The national basketball team of the Philippines is one of the best-performing Asian teams in the international tournaments, winning a bronze medal in the 1954 FIBA World Championship and fifth-place finish in the 1936 Olympics, best finishes of any Asian team in the top two international basketball tournaments.
The national basketball federation is the BAP-Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (BAP-SBP).
The current national team, nicknamed "Team Pilipinas" (Team Philippines) is sponsored by the San Miguel Corporation, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, the PBA, and the PBL. The coach of the team is Vincent "Chot" Reyes.
Aside from the bronze medal at the World Championships and the fifth-place Olympic finish, the Philippines has won the FIBA Asian Championship for Men five times, four Asian Games Men's Basketball gold medals and has been a consistent winner at the Southeast Asian Games and at the Southeast Asia Basketball Association. The country has also participated in four FIBA World Championships and seven Olympic Basketball Tournaments.
But the history of Philippines success in international basketball extends further back than the 1936 Olympics. In 1913 the Philippines won the basketball tournament at the first-ever Far Eastern Championship Games. In fact, they won nine of the ten titles ever contested, before World War II brought the Games to an end.

Mexico vs. Philippines (30-32) at the 1936 Olympics. Credit: IOC/Olympic Museum collections
The Philippine national team was one of the most dominant basketball teams in Asia since 1920s. The Philippines dominated the Far Eastern Games and the Southeast Asian Games but only partially dominate the Asian Games and FIBA Asia Championship with rivals like Israel, South Korea, Lebanon, Japan and especially China.
In the 1950s-1960s, the Philippines was among the best in the world, producing world-class players like Carlos Loyzaga, Mariano Tolentino and Edgardo Ocampo. Loyzaga was even a part of the 1954 FIBA World Championship Mythical Team selection, where the Philippines won the Bronze medal.
The country lost its Asian basketball supremacy, when Asia's first and the world's second professional basketball league, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), was founded on April 1975. Slowly, the country lost its best players to the league with FIBA restrictions of professional players in the national teams.
After 1975, the Philippines only managed to win the 1986 Asian Basketball Confederation (the national team qualified to the 1986 FIBA World Championship in Spain but the team disbanded and failed to participate due to the political crisis in the Philippines) and a bronze medal in the 1986 Asian Games. Both teams were bannered by future PBA stars Allan Caidic, Samboy Lim and Hector Calma. In 1990, the Philippines sent and all-pro national team, coached by Robert Jaworski, to regain the country's basketball supremacy in the Asian Games but the team lost in the final against China and settled for a silver medal. The team includes 1990 PBA Most Valuable Player Allan Caidic, Alvin Patrimonio and Samboy Lim (who was selected for the Asian Games Mythical Team selection).
In 1998, the PBA formed the celebrated Philippine Centennial Team that captured the 21st William Jones Cup championship but finished with the bronze medal in the Asian Games. While in 1994 and 2002, the PBA-backed national team only managed fourth placed finishes.