Beginning September 21, during the opening of the Commissioner's Cup, the PBA will welcome the visiting Bay Area Dragons from Hong Kong.
This will be the first time the PBA will have a foreign squad competing in Asia's pioneering professional league since the 2003 Invitational tournament when KK Novisad from Yugoslavia and Yonsei University from South Korea joined as guest teams.
The Dragons' participation brought back memories of the time when an Invitational Tournament has become a regular thing in the PBA.
In 1977, Toyota became the first squad to win an Invitational Tournament, beating Emtex Sacronels Brazil bannered by future Hall of Famer Oscar Schmidt.
On this day, August 16, 1980, the PBA held its second Invitational Tournament where visiting teams Nicholas Stoodley from the US and Adidas France joined the top three teams from the previous tournament — the Toyota Tamaraws, the U/Tex Wranglers and the Walk Tall Jeansmakers (Crispa).
Nicholas Stoodley was bannered by former PBA imports Larry Pounds and Kenny Tyler, and Ron Richardson.
Toyota brought back imports Andy Fields and Bruce Sky King, Crispa had Sylvester Cuyler and Byron "Snake" Jones as reinforcements, while U/Tex had Aaron James and Glenn McDonald.
U/Tex just won the Open Conference, but couldn't replicate the success in the Invitational Tournament.
Nicholas Stoodley defeated Toyota in the best-of-three finals with a two-game sweep as Tyler led the way with 22 points and became the first guest team to win a PBA championship.
King pumped in 40 points while Robert Jaworski contributed 21 markers and Fields chipped in 18 to pace Toyota.
Two years later, the PBA held another Invitational Tournament as the South Korean national team backstopped by the great Lee Chung-hee, joined as a guest squad.
The Koreans placed third, beating the Toyota Corollas in a two-game sweep of their best-of-three series. Game Two was marred by a near free for all.
Three Toyota players, including rookie Terry Saldana, got involved in a fracas.
The 1982 tournament was won by San Miguel, reinforced by Norman Black, defeating Crispa in a three-game series.