PBA, SBP strengthen ties
LAS VEGAS—The Philippine Basketball Association faces long seasons starting next year as it aims to accommodate the national team as much as possible while continuing to cater to its home fans by staging three conferences each year.
With a possible stint in the World Cup in China in August and a sure participation in the Southeast Asian Games the country will be hosting next year, the PBA will open as early as January and close shop in December.
The league’s leadership reached the decision at the end of its annual planning session in this gambling capital, as members of the league’s board started going about their separate vacations on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
The next season starts with the Philippine Cup on Jan. 13. The import-spiced Commissioner’s Cup and Governors’ Cup, meanwhile, will push the schedule close to Christmas as the league would take breaks for the national team.
During this same meeting, the board reaffirmed its complete support to the national program by agreeing to bend backwards again to accommodate the participation of the Meralco Bolts in the Fiba Champions Cup in Bangkok, Thailand, later this month.
“We will suspend our games whenever the national team needs to play in a tournament,” commissioner Willie Marcial said. “Even if we have [Gilas] players playing in a [PBA] Finals, we will adjust our schedule.”
“The season will take long because, should the Philippines make it to the main draw in China, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas will be asking for a four-week stretch to have the team practice together,” said SBP president and Meralco board representative Al Panlilio.
“Without a doubt, the partnership and relationship of the PBA and SBP has really strengthened,” chair Ricky Vargas of PLDT said. “We became stronger.
The board members had also earlier agreed to tinker with the league’s constitution and bylaws to restructure term limits on the offices of the league chair and commissioner.
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