FIBA Asia Championship: How It All Began
by Henry Liao for philippinebasketball.ph (09/15/2011)
It was known by a different name during its inaugural competitions in Manila in 1960, however.
Until the mid-1990s, it was called the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) tournament.
Like before, it also was held biennially during odd-numbered years and served as the qualifying tournament for the Summer Olympics and World Basketball Championship.
A Filipino, Dionisio (Chito) Calvo, spearheaded the formation of the ABC in the late 1950s.
Known as the ?Father of Philippine Basketball,? Calvo suited up for the national team that topped the 1925 Far Eastern Games in Manila. He was the head coach of the first two PH Olympic squads that placed fifth (the highest-ever ranking by an Asian country until now) during the 1936 Berlin Games and 12th during the 1948 London Games.
Calvo later became an organizer. He set up the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA) in 1938. The semi-pro league lasted until the establishment of the professional Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in 1975.
The idea of putting up the Asian Basketball Confederation was first brought up in August 1958 in a Tokyo hotel coffee shop by six basketball officials from various Asian countries that participated in the 3rd Asian Games held in the Japanese city.
While basketball was part of the Asian Games calendar, Calvo and company were concerned that it had been relegated to a minor sport.
Thus came the birth of the ABC, the harbinger of the FIBA Asia Championship.
Through the efforts of Calvo, the first ABC tournament was staged in January 1960 in Manila. Seven countries saw action in the competitions. They were Taiwan (Nationalist China), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Malaya (now Malaysia) and the host Philippines.
Along with Pakistan, they also attended the conference at which the draft constitution of the ABC was adopted and the participating countries admitted as members.
Call it home-court advantage, the Philippines captured the inaugural ABC title in 1960 as the Filipinos won all of their nine assignments at the old Rizal Memorial Coliseum, including a 99-78 rout of Taiwan in the championship game.
Coached by Arturo Rius, the first ABC championship team included skipper Carlos (Caloy) Loyzaga, Kurt Bachmann, Carlos Badion, Narciso Bernardo, Loreto Carbonell, Edgardo Ocampo, Alfonso Marquez, Mariano Tolentino and Eduardo Lim.
Badion was named the tournament?s Most Valuable Player.
The ABC was not officially found until the 2nd ABC competitions in Taipei in November 1963 when representatives from nine countries ratified the ABC constitution and bylaws, and elected, among other officials, then-Philippine Senator Ambrosio Padilla as president and Calvo as secretary general.
Even though it lost twice in 11 games (falling to Korea, 62-59, and Taiwan, 96-81, during the preliminary rounds), the Philippines retained its crown during the eight-nation 1963 tournament following a 91-77 decision over host Taiwan in the finals.