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The PBA Commissioner’s Cup is a tournament of the Philippine Basketball Association. Along with the PBA Governors’ Cup, the tournament (also named as “conference”) is one of the two competitions in a PBA season that allows teams to hire a single foreign player, also known as an “import”. The tournament was first held in 1993 as the PBA season’s second competition.
The tournament was discontinued when the Invitational Championship was reintroduced in 2003. From 2004 to 2010, the league decreased their tournaments per season from three to two competitions; one All-Filipino tournament, named as the Philippine Cup and one with imports, named as the Fiesta Conference The tournament was re-instated in 2011 as the second competition of the PBA season after the league re-adopted the three conference format.
The Commissioner’s Cup also refers to the trophy awarded to the champion team.
During the 1993 PBA season, the league moved the All-Filipino Conference as the first tournament of the season and made the Second Conference as the Commissioner’s Cup, a reference to the PBA Commissioner. The conference was the second tournament held in a PBA season.
The Swift/Sunkist franchise won the tournament in 1993 and 1995. Purefoods, with Kenny Redfield as import and Chot Reyes as head coach, defeated Alaska in 1994.
During Alaska’s grandslam season of 1996, they won the Commissioners Cup title over Shell in a grueling seven-game series. The Gordon’s Gin Boars ended their six-year drought, winning over the Milkmen in 1997, giving playing coach Robert Jaworski his last PBA title on both capacities. A year later, Alaska had Devin Davis as import to win the title over San Miguel.
From 1999 to 2000, San Miguel won the Commissioners Cup with Terquin Mott and Stephen Howard as imports. But in 2001, the Beermen was upset by the Red Bull Thunder, with Best Import Antonio Lang in six games.
In 2002, with most of the team’s star players are with the national squad, the PBA once again allowed team’s to take two imports with a 12-feet maximum height limit. Red Bull won the series over Talk ‘N Text in seven games.
The tournament was retired in 2003 after the re-introduction of the Invitational Championship as the second conference of the season but was eventually reactivated in 2011 after the league restored the three-conference season format.