|Source: YouTube / Axesys08|
Each MBA team represents a city, province or island in the country. On the contrary, PBA teams are named after companies or product brands. With the thrust towards regional pride, MBA's popularity among fans skyrocketed quickly. Huge expenses, mainly related to travel and logistics, took its toll. ABS-CBN withdrew funding, leading to the league's eventual dissolution in 2002.
During the inaugural season, MBA's 12 teams were grouped into the Northern and Southern Conferences. The Northern Conference comprises the Pangasinan Presidents, Pampanga Dragons, Manila Metrostars, Pasig Blue Pirates and Laguna Lakers. The Southern Conference comprises Iloilo Volts, Negros Slashers, Cebu Gems, Cagayan De Oro Nuggets, Davao Eagles and SocSarGen Marlins.
The inaugural games were held at the Narciso Ramos Sports & Civic Center on March 7, 1998. Those matches were simulcast on Studio 23 and IBC-13. Peter Martin of the Manila Metrostars made the first shot in the league's history. His team won against the Cebu Gems. In the second game, however, the Max Delantes-led Socsargen Marlins defeated host Pangasinan Presidents (which was later renamed Waves).
Following is a video of the introduction to each MBA game broadcast during the league's first season. It is characterized by a ball that travels across the Philippines, making a stop in the geographical area that each team represents. Towards the end of the introduction, main players from the opposing conferences face each other and vie for the ball.