PBA logs record gate earnings; Petron chasing MillerBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA—The crowd of close to 17,000 that witnessed Petron Blaze deny Talk ‘N Text a Grand Slam last Sunday night topped a record-breaking year for the Philippine Basketball Association as it grossed close to P90 million in gate receipts for a new all-time record.
And the Boosters, the hangover of that championship barely over, have started to make sure that they will be even more competitive for the coming 37th Season by working on a deal that would take former two-time MVP Willie Miller to Petron.
A trade proposal has already been sent to Barako Bull (formerly Air21) to reacquire Miller back into the San Miguel Corp.’s group of teams and the Petron official who requested that he not be identified at the moment said that a deal could be consummated in the next few days.
“We will give one player and a Draft pick,” the official said of the package offered to the Energy Boosters.
Petron is willing to part ways with its Draft pick on Sunday—the eighth overall—to be able to snag Miller, who played for Petron’s sister team, Barangay Ginebra last season but didn’t enjoy much playing time because of a guard-heavy roster.
The new high in gate receipts is being attributed to the league’s return to the three-conference format.
Last year, when Purefoods won the Philippine Cup and Alaska the Fiesta Conference with Diamon Simpson, the PBA grossed P75 million for the season.
While the jump in gate receipts represents a 20% increase, average warm bodies in attendance had a 9% increase compared to the previous season, which was the fifth season that the league adopted a two-conference format to be able to fit in the international basketball calendar.
The Draft will be held at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita at 4 p.m. on Sunday with Smart Gilas mainstay JV Casio expected to be named the top overall pick by the rebuilding Powerade Tigers.