Basketball and tennis got a lot of eyeballs from hoops-mad Filipinos. And they also showed some love for rugby and American football.
Yahoo Philippines relives the top sporting events of 2019 that became the most-followed spectacles for Filipinos.
FIBA World Cup
Spain topped the 2019 International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup held in China by beating Argentina in the finals. It was Spain’s second World Cup title as well as its second final, winning in both.
The United States, the defending champions, suffered its worst World Cup with defeats to France in the quarterfinals and to Serbia in the classification. France bagged the bronze medal with a win over Australia.
The Philippines had a dismal tournament losing all of its games in Group D as well as its two classification games. The Philippines were firmly rooted at the bottom of the 32-team rankings.
National Basketball Association (NBA)
The Toronto Raptors made history when they dethroned defending champion Golden State Warriors in the finals, 4-2 to win their first NBA title. Toronto became the first city outside the United States to win an NBA title.
Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors in their first NBA finals quest. He was named NBA Finals MVP for the second time in his career. The 2019 NBA Finals is the first not to feature LeBron James since 2010.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had a stellar year winning the MVP award for the regular season and getting named in the All-NBA First Team and NBA All-Defensive First Team. Rudy Gobert won his second straight Defensive Player of the Year. Luka Dončić was named Rookie of the Year, Lou Williams received the Sixth Man of the Year, Pascal Siakam took the Most Improved Player of the Year, and Mike Budenholzer bagged Coach of the Year.
Massive player movements ensued after the July moratorium which saw marquee names such as Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, Paul George and Russell Westbrook switch teams.
Philippine Basketball Association (PBA)
The mighty San Miguel Beermen’s grand slam ambition was foiled by sister team Ginebra San Miguel in the quarterfinals of the season-ending conference PBA Governor’s Cup. San Miguel won the two previous conferences.
June Mar Fajardo snagged the Philippine Cup Finals MVP and Best Player of the Conference awards.
Terrence Romeo bagged the Commissioner Cup Finals MVP while Jason Castro took the Best Player of the Conference honor. Terrence Jones was named Best Import.
The league honored the Gilas Pilipinas team that retained the basketball gold in the recent 30th Southeast Asian Games hosted by the country. The team was powered by professional basketball players and coaches from the PBA.
Rugby World Cup
The Springboks of South Africa beat England, 32-12, to emerge as the champion of the 2019 Rugby World Cup held in Japan. South Africa claimed their third title to equal New Zealand's record.
South Africa’s victory put them on top of the World Rugby Men’s Rankings for the first time since 2009.
England knocked New Zealand in their semifinal match.
Typhoon Hagibis forced the cancellations of several matches due to safety concerns.
Rafael Nadal beat Dominic Thiem to bag the 2019 Men's Singles tennis title at the 2019 French Open. Nadal won a record 12th French Open singles title, his third consecutive title since 2017. The 2019 finals is a rematch of their finals match in 2018 won by Nadal.
Ashleigh Barty won the 2019 Women’s Single tennis title at the French Open – her first Grand Slam singles title – defeating Markéta Vondroušová in the final. Barty became the first Australian player, male or female, to win the French Open since 1973. Simona Halep was the defending champion in the women's singles, but got eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Novak Djokovic retained his men’s singles title at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships by beating Roger Feder in the longest single final in the tournament’s history. The win was Djokovic’s fifth title at Wimbledon.
Simona Halep stunned Serena Williams in the final to win the women’s singles title. Halep became the first Romanian female tennis player to reach and win the final at Wimbledon. Williams was attempting to win a record-equaling 24th Grand Slam title. Defending champion Angelique Kerber was eliminated in the second round by Lauren Davis.
Rafael Nadal defeated Daniil Medvedev to capture the men's singles tennis title at the 2019 US Open. Nadal won his 4th US Open title.
Defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic retired in a match against Stan Warwinka in the fourth round. Medvedev became only the second Russian tennis player to reach the US Open single’s final.
Bianca Andreescu defeated Serena Williams in the final to win the Women's Singles tennis title at the 2019 US Open. Andreescu won her first Grand Slam title. She also became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam singles title.
Williams was attempting to win her seventh US Open title and a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title. Defending women’s champion Naomi Osaka was ousted in the fourth round.
The Ateneo Blue Eagles achieved a three-peat in the Universities Athletic Association Season 82 basketball championship after they beat the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in the basketball Finals. The Blue Eagles swept the Finals as undefeated champions, after they swept all 14 of their elimination round games. Thirdy Ravena won his third consecutive Finals MVP award. Soulémane Chabi Yo was named the season’s MVP.
On the women’s side, defending champions National University Lady Bulldogs won the championship against UST Tigresses. This was NU's sixth straight title, all in undefeated season.
Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in the final to win the men's singles title at the 2019 Australian Open, his 15th Gram Slam title. Djokovic is now third with the most Grand Slam titles, behind only Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Defending men’s singles champion Federer lost in the fourth round.
Naomi Osaka defeated Petra Kvitová to win the women's singles title. Caroline Wozniacki lost in the third round.
American football, or the National Football League (NFL), is getting some love from Filipinos, appearing as one of the most searched terms in the Philippines.
The Super Bowl, the NFL’s annual championship game, is a spectacle on it’s own. It draws high viewership, making it as one of the world’s most watched sporting events, The NFL is second only to the UEFA Champions league in terms of viewership of an annual sporting event worldwide.
The Tom Brady-led New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams for its sixth Super Bowl championship title at Super Bowl LIII. With the win, the Patriots tie the Pittsburgh Steelers with the most Super Bowl championship titles. Appearing on its third consecutive Super Bowl since 2017, the Patriots now have most number of Super Bowl appearances with 11. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady earned a record fourth Super Bowl MVP. He also broke single-game Super Bowl records for completion, attempts and passing yards.
Note: This list was compiled and reviewed prior to the 30th Southeast Asian Games.