Free to Dream: Anta Shocks the Game with new 4×4 basketball tournament

You’re accustomed to standard five-on-five basketball. The three-on-three tournament has grown on you. Now, Anta is bringing you a fresh and exciting in-between: four-on-four full-court basketball.

This new game format, called Shock The Game, does exactly as its name suggests. Having just launched its first Manila edition this October, it is the first 4-on-4 full-court basketball tournament in the Philippines. And, it introduces a kind of play that is uniquely its own.

The best part: it’s perfect for the Filipino style of play.

A new basketball experience

Shock The Game is a 4-on-4 basketball tournament that originated in China. The Philippines is among one of the first nations to adopt it.

And with a new game format comes new rules. Here are a few to help you get a grasp of this brand-new tournament:

  • Only four players can play per team. Each team can have one sub available.
  • Anything shot inside the arc counts as one point, and shots beyond the arc count as two.
  • A game ends when a team scores 21 points or when the 15-minute game clock runs out.
  • There is no backcourt violation.

With these new rules comes a new way to enjoy the game we already know and love. “The game opens up more than the traditional 5-on-5 because you only have eight players on the court,” Anta’s General Manager, John Paul Paglinawan tells us. “And it’s much faster than the 3-on-3 because you have the whole size of the court to use.”

Indeed, one of the first things you’ll notice when watching Shock The Game is how much more space there is on the court. And with the additional room comes more pace and more freedom for creativity. The commissioner of the tournament, Cris Bautista, explained that because of the format, games are more free-flowing.

But, don’t be intimidated by these new set of rules and regulations. It may be a new format, but even so, you’ll find something very reminiscent in these 4-on-4 games.

“It’s basically the same rules you have when you play in the park,” Marketing Manager Mikko Abello explains. “I think it was also easy for the players to just embrace it kasi everyone learned how to play ball in the streets. So it’s really streetball that we’re offering the Filipino market.”

So rather than making the sport even more technical, this tournament actually brings basketball back to something simpler.

For those who are free to dream

Any basketball player worth his salt knows what it’s like to play streetball. In a country so basketball-crazy, there are countless pickup games in barangays, parks, or literally anywhere with a ball and a hoop. This is, after all, where all players start.

This one-of-a-kind tournament draws back to those origins—the lifestyle that comes with the sheer passion for the sport.

While the 4-on-4 Shock The Game tournament may have just launched this October, the name itself should sound familiar. This is because Shock The Game is also a line designed by Anta. Taking a look at these products, you’ll notice that, as Marketing Manager Mikko Abello puts it, “The vibe really is very street, very loud, very in your face.”

Unlike Anta’s other signature lines, such as their Klay Thompson and Gordon Hayward collections, Shock The Game boasts a different style altogether. With Shock The Game’s vibrant colors and bold features, it definitely reflects street-style basketball—a more casual vibe to a technical game.

“We want to have something to offer to everybody,” Abello continues. “That’s what Shock The Game is—for the guys who are free to dream.” In the same vein, the tournament follows the exact same idea.

Open to everyone who is interested in joining, Shock The Game truly is a platform for anyone in our basketball-crazy community. And, with the freedom and creativity that comes with this new 4-on-4 format, players are able to express their own style of play. Further, they are able to draw from their early experiences and learnings from when they first started playing.

As Paglinawan emphasizes, “It’s for everyone who loves the game.”

And this is exactly what makes it perfect for the Filipino community.

You need skill, not size

The traditional 5-on-5 basketball format can become very technical, especially when you’re watching games in the UAAP, the PBA, and the NBA. Coaches have their own systems, players have their own roles on the court.

But, taking one player off each team, suddenly, every man on the court is forced to adjust to new roles with every play, and the system needs to be improvised right in the moment. This is why games can be so unpredictable in this tournament.

“There were schools who sent teams with imports,” Mikko Abello shares. “So at first, we thought, these teams are stacked. They’re big, the imports could dunk. But given that the format is very different, it’s like an equalizer. In 4-on-4 if you’re a small team, if you run, if you’re quicker, the size advantage pretty much goes away.”

The 4-on-4 tournament essentially becomes an equalizer. And, as Filipinos are definitely not the tallest in the world, this provides a unique opportunity for pure skills to come to the forefront of the game, rather than size.

As Commissioner Cris Bautista puts it, “Sa basketball, height is might. Pero dito, hindi...Everybody was shocked.”

As mentioned, with only eight players on a full court, it leaves a lot of space. Decisions have to be made more quickly, and every man’s role becomes more magnified. “It’s really the skill and the team play that determine success,” Paglinawan says.

Bringing the game to you

Speaking of success, Shock The Game will have its first set of winners by this weekend. And, you’re invited to catch all the action.

“Anta, together with our official hydration partner Gatorade and also Banh Mi Kitchen would like to invite you to join us for leg five of Shock The Game on October 22 at Gatorade Hoops Center, Mandaluyong. We hope to see you there!” Mikko Abello shares.

Saturday marks the start of the tournament’s final round, where the top 16 teams will battle it out to make the final four. And, there’s more up for grabs than just bragging rights.

Everyone who makes it to the finals gets “Anta swag,” as Abello puts it. “They’ll be getting everything, from the uniform kits to the shoes.”

But of course, something even more special is reserved just for the champions. The winner of the entire tournament will be getting a new, limited-edition sneaker from Anta’s Klay Thompson signature collection. Set to be released later this year, everyone on the winning team will get the brand new set, called the gold-blooded KT8.

Apart from this, Shock The Game also has something in it for everyone. At the finals, the crowd will see more than just the final rounds of games. The top dunker in the country, David Carlos will be making an appearance for a dunk contest among the players. And in addition to this, fans will also get to see a special performance by the Itchyworms.

And take note: it’s free for all. You’re not going to want to miss this.

Truly, Anta is here to elevate the already prominent culture of basketball in the Philippines. By providing the country with a new platform, an authentic style of play, and a full-on lifestyle experience for players and fans alike, the tournament does exactly as its name says it should.

It shocks the game. It invites everyone—pros or not, fans or not. Basketball is more than just a sport, after all.

More to come

The great news is that Anta is not stopping here. Though the tournament may be coming to its conclusion this weekend, they have a lot more planned for the Filipino community in the coming years.

Abello and Paglinawan shared that next year, they hope to host more tournaments and more games, beginning as early as the summer. And along with the tournaments, they also plan to host other activations, such as grassroots programs and training camps for anyone who wants to take part in the game.

“We plan to hold tournaments and reach more cities next year,” Paglinawan announces. “We need to do more awareness of the 4-on-4 games, so the team is planning camps for next year to focus on the grassroots.”

With programs starting from the ground up, Anta is not just here to introduce a new game in an already basketball-filled country. If anything, this shows that the brand is committed to improving the sport nationwide.

As mentioned earlier, the game caters to Filipinos, and not just in the sense that it is open for anyone to compete in. More than that, the streetball nature of the game is something already inherent in our culture.

So, tying it all together—the lifestyle, the skill, the competitiveness—Shock The Game may be something new, but at the same time, it reintroduces us back to one of the purest forms of the game. And, as it is meant for anyone who is free to dream, it is definitely a perfect way to celebrate Filipino basketball culture.