THE Philippine Cup, which is how the all-Filipino conference is being called in the PBA since 2004, started off the league’s new season – its 38th -- last Sunday (as it has always done since 2003).
Talk ‘N Text is the two-time defending champion and will be looking to become only the second team in PBA history to win three straight all-Filipino titles which Crispa recorded 29 years ago.
Crispa won the all-Filipino crown in 1979, 1980 and 1983. There were no all-Filipino tourneys in 1981 and 1982.
Looking at the current roster of teams, I notice that only half of the teams have all-Filipino championships tucked under their belts. Aside from Talk ‘N Text, only Alaska, San Mig Coffee, Barangay Ginebra and Petron Blaze have previously won the league’s most prestigious trophy.
The rest of the teams – Air21, Barako Bull, Rain or Shine, Meralco and of course new team Globalport – are still in search of a first-ever Philippine Cup crown. Actually, Rain or Shine is the only team that has won a PBA title in this group - all of which entered the league in 2002 or afterwards. And the Elasto Painters even just accomplished it in the most recent Governors Cup which ended the previous season.
However, Alaska and Petron Blaze have the longest all-Filipino title droughts among the five teams that have already won it previously. The Aces’ last triumphed in 2000 and the Boosters in 2001 when it was still carrying the San Miguel Beer banner.
The Tropang Texters, Mixers and Kings have actually won eight of the last 10 Philippine Cups, with TNT having won three of the last four and San Mig Coffee winning thrice (as Purefoods) and Barangay Ginebra twice in that stretch.
Which team will reign supreme in the Philippine Cup this time?