Monday, January 24, 2011

Alive and kicking: PBL unravels new season on Feb. 26

Nearly given up for dead, the Philippine Basketball League returns with its new season on February 26.

This was confirmed to GMANews.TV by Gene Alabanza, team manager of regular competing team Pharex.

“We have six teams competing, and we’re very happy that a new season will finally push through. Medyo matagal rin kaming nawala," said Alabanza in a telephone interview.

According to Alabanza, Nolan Bernardino, son of the late former Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Emilio “Jun" Bernardino, has been installed as the new league commissioner.

“Nolan’s group, Sports Vision, is also the one managing the league. We still don’t have a broadcast network that will cover the games, but the important thing is we’re on the go," said Alabanza.

Aside from Pharex, other teams competing are Cobra Energy Drink, Ani-FCA, Hobe Bihon, Excelroof, and Café France.

Alabanza added that the deadline for submission of line-ups is on Feb. 2, while the Rookie Draft will be held on Feb. 5. Games are tentatively set at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium on Vito Cruz St., Manila.

The PBL, a breeding ground of future stars in the professional ranks, has been idle for nearly a year, and basketball observers had wondered whether the league which had upheld a fine tradition would fold up for good or continue to struggle.

The league even joined forces with another amateur league — the Liga Pilipinas — in creating the Tournament of the Philippines featuring teams from both leagues. 

With the PBL not fully functioning for the past few months, the PBA even brought up the idea of creating a new league under its wings — the D-League (Developmental League), which is patterned after the National Basketball Developmental League (NBDL) in the United States.

Alabanza admitted that joining the D-League has also crossed their minds.

“Maybe because mas nakasanayan lang namin na sa PBL kami sumali," said Alabanza. “But we’re taking it one step at a time. Let’s see how this league goes. We’re confident of coming up with a successful new season." - KY, Rey Joble, GMANews.TV

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