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Quo vadis, PBA

/ 05:10 AM May 17, 2019

Willie Marcial, an affable bear of a man who is the commissioner of the PBA, has a promise to keep.

He says he will share his thoughts on the league’s state as soon as the euphoria dies down over the league’s pulsating Philippine Cup Finals won by San Miguel over Magnolia on Wednesday.

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Most of the Finals games were nail-biters. The seventh and deciding game, a 72-71 escape act by the Beermen, sold out the Araneta Coliseum, with fans standing in aisles and stairwells.

Never mind that the fifth game was disrupted by a fan dressed in a Spider-Man costume, that almost the entire championship series was marred by the frequent foray of PBA cameras into courtside seats occupied by VIPs.

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The TV lenses annoyingly focused nightly on a senatorial candidate (who ended up winning in the elections) as if to give him unfair media exposure.

The perfect all-Filipino finale with a dramatic ending before a sellout crowd is wonderful if you are the main man like Marcial—leader of Asia’s first pay-for-play basketball league and the world’s longest running pro tournament next only to the NBA.

Marcial promised to share his take on why PBA attendance is rising or falling; what innovations, if any, have been introduced, or will be introduced, to make the league more interesting; and after four decades and change, how has the league withstood the test of time, vis-à-vis the NBA and the rest of the world’s professional basketball leagues.

There are at least a dozen or so countries, including China our neighbor, with younger pro leagues that have sent athletes to the best and biggest pro cage tournament of all—the NBA.

Unfortunately, the PBA, in a country with unmatched per capita fervor for basketball, where there is a basketball court in every neighborhood and town square, is not among these.

One of the better-known sportsmen I have known for years emerged victorious in last Monday’s midterm elections.

Former Philippine Olympic Committee president and Gintong Alay director Michael Keon has won as mayor of Laoag, narrowly defeating Chevylle Fariñas. Chevylle is the widow of the city’s former chief executive Michael, a scion of the politically prominent Fariñas family.

Keon, was a former governor of Ilocos Norte. His victory marked the end of the Fariñases’ long control of the province’s capital city.

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TAGS: Basketball, Magnolia, PBA, Philippine Cup Finals, San Miguel, Willie Marcial
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