After the league’s dry-run, the very first official tournament of the Philippine Amateur Basketball League (PABL) in 1983 was called “Founder’s Cup”. 15 teams were divided into two groups.
Group 1 – Southern Textile Mills, Arellano University, Perpetual Savings Bank, Manhattan Shirts (became known as Country Fair Foodmakers in the final round), Sampaguita Garments, Boogie Jeans (or Boogie Barnes), and ESQ Marketing.
Group 2 – Bank of Rizal, Davao All-Stars, RFM-Swifts, SMC-Magnolia Ice Cream, Cine Suerte, Customs-MCDC, CF Sharp, and Masagana 99.
The Opening game on October 9, with special guest Michael Keon doing the ceremonial toss. CF Sharp won the opening game against RFM-Swifts, 89-87.
The 8 teams who made it to the final round, from Group 1, Southern Textile Mills, which finish with a perfect 6-0, followed by Arellano (4-2), Perpetual and Manhattan with an even 3-3 card, advances via quotient over Sampaguita, which also finishes at 3-3. From Group 2, Bank of Rizal and Masagana 99 were tied on top with 5-2, and the other two entries in the final round were Magnolia (4-3) and Cine Suerte.
In the final round of 8, the Arellano University Flaming Arrows had a perfect 7-0 card while Development Bank of Rizal finish second with a 6-1 slate, Arellano needed to win only once to capture the title outright while DBR had to beat Arellano twice for the crown.
On December 9, 1983, Arellano beat the Bankers, 110-103, to win the first PABL Founder’s Cup title. National player Willie Pearson topscored with 31 points for the Flaming Arrows. Masagana 99 placed third in the classification while Magnolia took the fourth spot.
Manuel Luis “Totoy” Marquez of Bank of Rizal was adjudged as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. In the players’ all-around value of statistical points, Marquez finished on top, followed by William Pearson of Arellano, two Masagana 99 cagers; Elmer Reyes and Leo Austria, came in third and fourth respectively.
Perpetual Savings Bank’s Nazareno Batoon was at fifth, three Cine Suerte dribblers figured in the top ten, Anthony Mendoza at sixth, Alfonso Solis at ninth and Stevenson Dajalos at tenth. Ex-pro cager Kenneth Yap of Magnolia came in seventh while Southern Textile Mills’ Yves Dignadice was at eight.
The members of the champions Arellano University are team manager Peter Cayco, Coach Loreto Carbonell, Assistant coach Chuck Barreiro. The players are Ramon Cui, Ricky Cui, William Pearson, Jojo Guzman, Joey Loyzaga, Jay Ramirez, Jojo Villapando, Noni Robles, Billy Lim, Tem Gancayco, Melchor Frogoso, Jun Yambot, Coy Banal and Jun Moncada.