KIA, NLEX, Blackwater approved as new PBA teams
MANILA, Philippines - From 10 teams, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will now have 13 teams for next season.
PBA Commissioner Chito Salud announced applicants KIA, NLEX, and Blackwater have officially been approved as new teams in the PBA after a lengthy board meeting on Thursday, April 10.
"Three applied, 3 were recommended for approval, 3 were approved," Salud announced.
The 3 companies -- the Columbian Autocar Corporation (CAC) for KIA, Ever Bilena Cosmetics, Inc. for Blackwater, and the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) for NLEX -- are set to join the PBA for
its 40th season, which will tip off in the last quarter of this year.
CAC is the exclusive distributor of KIA Motors in the Philippines, while Ever Bilena and MPIC are the parent companies of Blackwater and NLEX, respectively.
Both Blackwater and NLEX have teams in the PBA Developmental League or D-League. On the other hand, KIA is known to be a supporter of football in the country, which is best exhibited through its sponsorship of the Philippine Azkals, the national men's football team.
According to Salud, it was a unanimous vote from the board in favor of the new teams.
"The board saw that each of the applicants was liquid, profitable and would add value to the league."
Salud started conducting due diligence early in March, where he assessed each of the team's financial capabilities and their willingness to join the 39-year old league.
"They have been informally and verbally notified of their acceptance. We will be sending them the formal acceptance of their membership within the week," Salud said.
"And we will expect their formal reply in the soonest possible time. Although as I understand, Ever Bilena Cosmetics Inc. has already signified its acceptance of the approval of the board."
No direct hire
The 3 new teams were not allowed the privilege of directly hiring players for its roster, considering KIA will be at a disadvantage since it has not formed a team yet unlike Blackwater and NLEX.
"As much as we wanted to give direct hire, we could not, because we wanted to treat all of the applicants evenly," Salud explained.
Instead, Salud said the 3 new teams will be given the "11th, 12th, and 13th pick of the first round (in the 2014 PBA Draft). The order of which will be determined by lottery."
For acquiring players, which is the greatest concern for the teams, Salud said the current 10 teams have agreed to release their two restricted free agents as the PBA will conduct an expansion draft between the 3 new teams by mid-July at the end of the current season.
The current teams will have to decide until the end of the season which 14 players to keep and which two players to release.
He also said 40 veteran free agents as well as rookie free agents will be included in the pool for the expansion draft.
As far as scheduling is concerned, Salud said there will be a minimum of 4 game dates a week and "most probably 5."
He noted the current 3-conference set-up will stand.
As new members of the PBA, the 3 teams, according to Salud, will have full voting powers much like the current 10 teams "as full-fledged members of the league."
However, with the case of MPIC, who is owned by the MVP group like the Meralco Bolts and Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters, they will only be allowed to vote "on policy matters, but not with respect to game matters."
That set-up holds true for the third team of the San Miguel Corporation, San Mig Super Coffee.
Ever Bilena and MPIC will carry over its team names from the D-League: Blackwater Sports and NLEX Road Warriors. While KIA is set to hold a contest for its team name.
"Well, it's a first. I think this is a momentuous occasion in the PBA," Salud remarked. "Three new teams, 3 expansion teams coming in all at the same time in time for our 40th season. Nothing can be more exciting than that." – Rappler.com