Creating A Winning Tradition and Elevating The Level of Play: The Ortigas Basketball League 2019 Season Opens


By John Mark Herrera - Published March 11, 2019


Seven teams banner what promises to be another year full of competitive and passion filled basketball tourney. A league already rich in history, the Ortigas Basketball League (OBL) opened the 2019 season, equipped with more promising success and a mission to elevate the level of play for all the participating Japanese owed companies, operating in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

The respective owners of the seven (7) teams for the 2019 OBL Season


Opening night was filled with excitement, which met expectations as the teams graced the hard-court for the annual festivity. Hosted by the stunning fitness guru and long-time PBA & MPBL courtside reporter, Ms. Sel Guevarra, the parade of teams kicked-off the event held at The Upper Deck Lifestyle Center in Ortigas.

PBA and MPBL veteran court side reporter, Ms. Sel Guevarra, hosting the opening night 

Powered by Kings of the Court|STR8 and led by this year's host- Sumitomo, JFE Techno Manila, previous season's host- Chiyoda, last season's runner-up- Denso Ten, IHI Philippines, Daikin, and the defending champions of the league, MHPS-TS, all showed up with a solid cast in the much anticipated spectacle.

Following the parade of teams, the traditional dance number/team performance highlighted the evening. All squads showed their talents off the court and dazzled the crowd with their dance moves. The fun-filled segment symbolizes the camaraderie and sportsmanship among all the teams. This year, JFE Techno Manila took home the best performance award, cruising in their black and blue threads while dancing to the funky beat.

JFE Techno's winning performance

Defending champions, MHPS-TS showed their groove


Smooth performance from IHI Philippines

Daikin brought their cool dance steps on the hardwood

A glimpse of Chiyoda's all-smiles dance perfomance

Electrify the audience, Lambert Tiausas brought out the "Budotz" dance craze for Denso Ten's performance 

Not to be outdone, the host of the OBL 2019 season flashed brilliance with their energizing number


Best Muse winner (Daikin)

After the dance battle, the beautiful muses of each participating team captured the hearts of the audience, as they conquered the hardwood with a stunning parade of timeless beauteousness. Ms. Jean Lharra De Guzman came out on top, after winning the best muse award, hailing from team Daikin.

Before the season tip-off, OBL 2019 Hosts- Sumitomo, invited special guests that pumped energy in the jam-packed hardcourt. HPN3, made up of Kazuo Inoue and Horikkoshi Yuuki, known in Japan as the Golden Age duo, and Kazuki Tanaka, a comedian for 10 years, gave the audience a great gift of laughter, as they crack their best jokes about their stay in Manila and how they fell in love with our culture.

HPN3's laughter-filled performance before tip-off


After the lively performances and eventful parade of teams, it was time to get serious. Team captains, coaches, and representatives lined up at center court for the draw lots, where the host team- Sumitomo and the rejuvenated IHI Philippines, drew luck as the first protagonists of the season.


The main event of the evening saw the two teams clash, where in the end; Sumitomo's resounding performance enabled them to cruise past IHI Philippines, 85-68. The victor caught fire in the interior, and feasted on inside points on the offensive end, while protecting the inside on defense. Sumitomo clobbered the defensive boards and dominated the rebounding category, 46-29. Yhel Hegina collected 14 markers, on top of four assists and four steals. Timothy John Cruz added 12 points, six assists, and three steals, while Ehzekiel Bawalas summed Sumitomo's defensive prowess, after finishing with six rebounds and four blocked shots for the winning side.

Reigning season Most Valuable Player, Jowaldo De Leon (IHI Philippines) scoops a driving, left-handed layup



Jowaldo De Leon led IHI Philippines after finishing with a game-high 27 points, on top of four rebounds, and three steals. The reigning season Most Valuable Player, shot 80% from the field and went 11/17 from the charity stripe. Ryan Sitijar added nine markers that went along with four rebounds, four assists, and five steals.

Hailed as the best player of the game, Jose Mari Talavera picked up from where he left off last season, as the tall-athletic wing man produced efficient numbers with 22 points, 10 rebounds to complete a double-double, knocking down 75% of his field goals. He put the cherry on top for his successful evening, by winning the three-point shootout in side event, where he poured 16 points in the first round and 18 in the championship round.

Presentation of the plaque and Wilson basketball, the official game ball of the OBL 2019, to the three-point king, Jomari Talavera of Sumitomo


The opening night concluded with Sumitomo's win. But the action is just getting started, as the second week promises to be a big one as two of the perennial rivals of the league, clash in an early rematch of last season's finals. Defending champions, MHPSTS led by Finals MVP- King Jimeth Reyes, will rekindle their rivalry against John Paul Rosopa and the avenge-seeking Denso Ten. 

This season will feature seven participating teams in a classic single-round format for the elimination round, a do-or-die quarterfinals, and what promises to be a very competitive grind out semifinals for this year's tournament, as all teams beefed up their lineups, with the mission to challenge the defending champions, MHPS-TS' back-to-back title bid.

The traditions held in this memorable night, represents a critical piece of the league's culture. These practices helped form the structure and foundation of where the OBL stands today. A reminder for everyone, about the purpose of having this competition; that every piece of history, defines our past, shapes where this unity is today, and what we are going to become.

Leaders are role models, who must strive to utilize every opportunity available for them to reinforce the values and beliefs that league so behold. The values built, with the strong support, are the backbone of  the Ortigas Basketball League's future success.