It seems the PBA can’t stop finding ways to let down Filipinos when it comes to basketball.

The league recently announced that it won’t be participating in the 2024 Basketball Champions League Asia, which will be held from June 9 to 15 in Dubai, UAE.

The Basketball Champions League Asia is a rebrand of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup, which the Philippines had won four times. Hapee Toothpaste was the most recent Philippine winner, going 5-0 in the 1996 edition (then called the Asian Basketball Confederation Champions Cup) behind ABC Champions Cup MVP Tony Harris.

The first professional basketball league in Asia begged off the 2024 edition due to scheduling conflicts and the toll it has taken on the teams. With the 2024 Honda PBA Philippine Cup postseason set to begin within the next week or so, it’s highly unlikely that contenders such as the San Miguel Beermen, Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, Magnolia Hotshots, and the Meralco Bolts will be available or have ample time to prepare, but the Blackwater Bossing, Phoenix Fuel Masters, and the Converge FiberXers have already completed their seasons.

To be fair, even the eliminated teams deserve a break but the Basketball Champions League Asia could be an opportunity for the younger players to get more minutes. After all, the Philippines was given an automatic berth by Basketball Champions League Asia and both the league and the players could make the most out of the experience.


To some extent, though, the PBA opting not to send a team is a reflection of how they’ve been left behind by the other teams in Asia as they have had their foreign players on their roster for quite some time.

The PBA adjusted its conferences to give way to the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, so the All-Filipino conference was at the tail end of the season. With no imports, any preparation will only be made difficult thanks to the need to integrate new players. If the PBA decided to extend the Commissioner’s Cup and make the Philippine Cup an in-season tournament, then maybe PBA teams would be more equipped to join the Basketball Champions League Asia on short notice.

FIBA would have loved to have a Philippine team in the Basketball Champions League Asia, especially since you can count on Filipinos for social media engagements. For now, they’ll hope that Justin Brownlee and perhaps a KBL or B.League team with a Filipino rostered can shoulder the load. Or they could extend an invite to a team in the Philippines willing to put together professionals.

It’s unfortunate that the Philippines will miss out on competing in an international basketball tournament like the Basketball Champions League Asia. Maybe the teams are looking to rest and recover before the new PBA season or perhaps the fear of getting blown out by other Asian teams just like in the East Asia Super League was too much to overcome. In the end, the biggest losers are the Filipinos themselves, who simply want to see their fellow countrymen slug it out with the best in Asia.