Today marks the 44th anniversary of the second oldest continuously professional basketball league in the world, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). While neighbors like Japan, Korea, and Taiwan went baseball crazy, the Philippines went all in on the sport of kings. I remember jeepneys being emblazoned with logos for the Lakers and the Bulls while I was there. If the trend still continues, I’m guessing there are tons of Golden State Warriors paint jobs nowadays.
But there’s also the PBA, which currently consists of twelve teams. They are not arranged by geographical locations, so there are no “home arenas”. The most successful team (and one of the original founding members) is the San Miguel Beermen. They are basically the Lakers of the PBA, with 25 championships and the most all-time victories. They are so named because their company, San Miguel, is a local brewery.
The Beermen have gone by several names. They started off as the Royal Tru-Orange, and have also been known as the Magnolia Ice Cream Makers, Magnolia Cheese Makers, Magnolia Beverage Masters, and the Petron Blaze Boosters depending on the corporate owner and what they want to advertise at the time. Once they changed ownership because the chairman of San Miguel fled the country during the People Power Revolution. But they always seem to come back to being the San Miguel Beermen after all is said and done.
I assume the sponsorship naming rights lead to some eyecatching sports reporting. Take, for example, this passage on Wikipedia:
The Ice Cream Makers made it to the Open Conference finals against powerhouse Great Taste Coffee Makers and lost in six games. In the Reinforced Conference, the team became known as Magnolia Quench Plus. The Thirst Quenchers were booted out of the semifinals by Great Taste in a playoff game.
Poetry to the ears.
Also great: being called the “Beermen” leads to some fantastic portmanteaus. After overcoming a 0-3 deficit to win the 2016 playoffs (against the conservatively named Alaska Aces), the series was dubbed the “Beeracle.”