PBA eyes invitational for Asian teams, removal of import handicapping
MANILA, Philippines – Change is coming to the Philippine Basketball Association for its 42nd season.
In a bid to broaden its reach, the PBA is looking to hold an invitational tournament for top Asian teams for the 2016-2017 season.
According to a press release, the PBA wants to invite club teams from Iran, Lebanon and South Korea to be seeded in the season-ending Governors Cup playoffs. The statement was issued from Seoul, South Korea, where the PBA Board was holding its annual meeting.
1Pacman Representative Mikee Romero, the new PBA chairman and GlobalPort team owner, is backing the idea as part of his objective to "create a new fan base" for the league.
It is also aimed at fulfilling league commissioner Chito Narvasa's vision of making "the PBA the center of basketball excellence in the region (Asia)."
The league also had that same goal in mind when it experimented with allowing teams to add Asian imports on top of the regular reinforcement during the Governors' Cup over the last two seasons. Not all teams, however, participated in it.
The PBA, Asia's first play-for-pay league, used to hold a regular invitational tournament in its early years.
In the 1977 Invitational, Toyota swept past Emtex Brazil in a best-of-5 finals series. Five years later, the Lee Chung Hee-led South Korean team finished third behind San Miguel Beer and Crispa.
The Nicholas Stoodley, an American team, won the tourney in 1980 by defeating Toyota in two straight games in a best-of-3 series.
There were also Invitationals during the time of commissioner Noli Eala.
Another change set to take effect next year is the removal of the handicapping system for the last two import-spliced conferences.
The Commissioner’s Cup, which originally features imports with a height ceiling of 6-foot-10, and the Governors Cup, whose height limit is usually 6-foot-5, will no longer impose such limits to reinforcements next season.
In the past, the league set no height limit for at least one of the two import conferences.
“The board has decided it’s time for the new teams to step up,” Narvasa said in the press release.
The PBA will open its new season starting with the Philippine Cup on November 20. – Rappler.com
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