Gilas’ World Cup stint big PBA boost
MADRID, Spain—Basketball back home is set to enjoy a boom because of Gilas Pilipinas’ recent performance in the Fiba World Cup.
And there’s no better entity to lead the upsurge other than the Philippine Basketball Association.
After accepting two expansion teams for the coming season to make it a 12-team field, the PBA, according to new chair Pato Gregorio of PLDT, is looking at adding at least two more before the 41st season gets off the ground next year.
“The board has unanimously approved the idea,” Gregorio told Filipino reporters who covered Gilas’ great return to the global stage that was highlighted by an 81-79 overtime win over Senegal, the country’s first victory in this event in four decades.
“We have at least three interested entities and one of them has a very rich basketball tradition in Hapee Toothpaste,” Gregorio said. “We will definitely expand, and it will happen in the 2015-2016 season.”
Hapee, one of the winningest teams in the history of the defunct Philippine Basketball League, is dead serious in making a return to the local cage scene after being away for close to a decade now.
In fact, owner Cecilio Pedro showed his passion for the game by being one of the loudest cheerleaders for the Filipinos here during Group B play in Seville last week.
De Pedro, together with Blackwater Sports owner Dioceldo Sy, also pledged a P1-million bonus to members of the Gilas team during their victory dinner Thursday night.
The PBA board, through Gregorio, also added another million to the bonus cache of the intrepid Nationals.
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