The Philippines is a basketball-crazy country. As veteran sports analyst Joaquin “Quinito” Henson explained in his column in The Philippine Star: “To Filipinos, basketball is a way of life. Soccer is supposed to be the world’s most popular sport but in at least two countries on the planet, basketball is No. 1 in the Philippines and Lithuania.”
Filipinos watch their local basketball superstars work their hard court magic in Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) games. They’re also just as devoted to the stars of the world-renowned the National Basketball Association (NBA). The NBA was founded in 1946 and the PBA was founded in 1975.
While the NBA is the big-money league and has produced many legends of the sport such as Shaquille O’Neal, who is still recognized by basketball fans around the world today, the PBA has its fair share of talented players. Due to the massive amount of money involved, international marketing, and the draft system, the NBA draws in the majority of the world’s top young players every year.
In the past, very little was known about the PBA outside of the Philippines. Now, thanks to technology and social media, the PBA and its stars are getting some international coverage. Incidentally, the NBA has played a part in this.
In an exhibition game in 2011, a selection of NBA stars took on a selection of PBA stars. With players like Kobe Bryant, Javalee McGee, Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant putting on a show, the NBA team came out on top 131-105 in style. The PBA collective, however, did manage to go 14-12 up halfway through the first quarter, courtesy of Arwind Santos of the Petron Blaze.
As noted by fans, one of the biggest differences in play style is the deployment of screens off of the ball. The NBA’s play style appears to be much more mobile than that of the PBA, but this may be down to the Philippine league’s rules being a hybrid set from the NBA and FIBA.
Then again, no matter who won, the PBA still benefited from the global coverage. Of course, social media also magnified the impact of the game. It was a viral event. After all, it’s not everyday that NBA stars play with local players.
One of the biggest benefits that both NBA and PBA fans get to enjoy around the world is that the games of both leagues can be backed in-depth at experienced, trusted, and licensed websites This allows fans to experience the game on another level, with the chance for their correct predictions to yield rewards.
Like the NBA, the PBA also has a grand collection of heated and historical rivalries which help to amp up the crowd in big matches.
Unless they move the franchise or decide to re-franchise, NBA teams will keep the same name and colors, for the most part. In the PBA, though, fans are treated to team reinventions very regularly, with corporate sponsorship being the primary factor of team existence.
While the NBA may be bigger and better in terms of basketball and money, the PBA offers a unique and immersive experience for die-hard local fans. Again, technology and social media has made this experience even more inclusive. Basketball fans all over the world can connect and watch or get updates on both NBA and PBA games in real time if they want to.