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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.
From 1993 to 1997, the teams were divided into two groups in the group stage. The teams in the same group will play against each other once and against teams in the other group twice. After the eliminations, the top five teams will advance to a double-round robin semifinals. A playoff incentive will be given to a team that will win five of their eight semifinal games should they fail to get the top two finals berths. The top two teams (or the No. 1 team and the winner of the playoff between team with at least 5 semifinal wins and the No. 2 team) will face each other in a best-of-seven championship series. In 1995, a slightly modified post eliminations format was adopted. Instead, the top six teams will advance to the quarterfinal round for another single round robin. The top four team will then be seeded in a best-of-five series with the winners advancing to the finals.
In 1998, the league adopted a quarterfinal-semifinal playoff format with the top two seeds advancing automatically to the semifinals and the next four teams will be matched up in the quarterfinals. The winners will advance to the semifinal round and to compete against the two top seeded teams in a best-of-five series. The winners of the semifinal round will then advance to the best-of-seven championship series. This format was slightly modified due to the entry of the Tanduay Rhum Masters in 1999. The top eight teams after a round-robin regular round will advance to the quarterfinals. The top two seeds will have a twice-to-beat advantage against the last two seeded teams. Other seeded teams will compete in a best-of-three playoffs. The winners will compete in a best-of-five semifinals series. Then the winners of the semifinals will advance to a best-of-seven finals series.
After the reintroduction of the tournament in 2011, the league adopted a tournament format similar on what was used in 1998. The top two teams will gain automatic semifinals seed while the next four teams will compete in a best-of-three quarterfinals.
From the 2013 edition of the tournament, the playoff format was revised and adopted the similar playoff format used for the Philippine Cup, in which the first two teams will gain a twice to beat advantage against the last two seeded teams and the other teams will compete for a best of three playoffs.
The height limit for import players varies from every year. In the tournament’s reintroduction in 2011, the height limit was 6’4″ (1.93 m). In 2012, the league removed the height restrictions. The handicapping system was reinstated in 2014, where the height limit of 6’9″ (2.06 m) was imposed for the playoff teams of the previous Philippine Cup. In 2017, the limit is 6’10” (2.08 m) for all teams.