MANILA, Philippines?At least 11 teams have shown interest in the Philippine Basketball Association?s D-League, the pro league?s farm tournament, which has a tentative late-March opening schedule.
Three of those squads?Maynilad, the North Luzon Express and the University of the Philippines?are connected with current PBA teams with the first two owned by Talk ?N Text and Meralco top honcho Manny V. Pangilinan.
Jose Bayani Baylon, Powerade?s representative to the board of governors and a UP alumnus, will be bankrolling the Maroons? stint in the D-League.
?Ideal number would have been eight,? league chair Rene Pardo of Derby Ace told sportswriters before tip-off of Game 5 of the San Miguel Beer-Talk ?N Text best-of-seven title series last night at the Araneta Coliseum.
?But since we?ve been getting some very favorable responses, we have to rethink the number,? Pardo added.
Pardo said that, for the meantime, only one conference of the D-League has been drawn up, with teams expected not to spend more than P2 million for the tournament with the player?s maximum salary pegged only at P30,000 a month.
Meanwhile, Alaska was forced to shop around for a new import after original pick Eddie Basden was measured to be a quarter of an inch over the 6-foot-4 height limit for the coming Commissioner?s Cup.
The Aces lost a lot of money after Basden failed two height tests at the league?s offices on Wednesday, having bought out Basden?s contract in the D-League, giving him a guaranteed pact to play here.
Alaska won the last import-spiced tournament with Diamon Simpson when the height limit was set at 6-foot-6.
In another development, JaJuan Smith, a guard who played for Dallas in the NBA Summer League, has agreed to suit up for Air21.
Smith, a 6-foot-3 guard, is expected to arrive either on Thursday or Friday from Atlanta, Georgia, to reinforce an Express squad that has done a lot of retooling the past month.
Derby Ace?s Robert Brown is the smallest import thus far at just 6-2-5/16. Others who made the height limit were Meralco?s Tony Dandridge (6-3-14/16), Ginebra?s Nate Brumfield (6-3-9/16) and Rain or Shine?s Hassan Adams (6-3-5/16).