OPINION: AMA joining the PBA is good on many levels

Rick Olivares

Posted at Jan 19 2017 05:57 PM

AMA University announcing that they have applied for a slot in the Philippine Basketball Association is great. On a couple of levels that is.

For one, it is always good to have more teams in the PBA. So much talent and not enough playing time let alone teams. And there are lots of very good coaches on the sidelines, many working as assistants or consultants. Why let all that talent and smarts go to waste? So realistically and in my opinion, 14 to 16 teams sounds about right. 

It’s a coup for AMA because they are – at least to my memory if it serves me well – the first school to apply for a slot. That enhances their image among their peers and would really help in recruiting for their college team that participates in NAASCU. It would also be a nice thing among college-bound students who could surmise that AMA is really huge that they could afford to apply for a PBA franchise.

This will have some major schools thinking about that as well. That’s a plus too for the pro league that has always tried to tap into the college basketball crowd to follow the games.

It doesn’t follow that college basketball fans also watch the PBA. Although college ball has become commercialized in many ways and the spirit of amateurism has long been dead, many still hold on to the premise of playing for the sheer love of the game and the school. 

I believe that sometime during the start of the new millennium, there was that exact migration of college hoop fans who followed their schoolmates to the pros. We’ve seen iterations of pro teams featuring a bunch of players from one school such as Alaska with quite a few La Salle Green Archers and Red Bull, San Miguel at one point with many former Ateneo Blue Eagles.

While semi-pro or even pro teams with the majority of players from one school doesn’t guarantee hardcourt success, it remains intriguing. Can it be done?

But I have to give it to AMA and of course, the PBA. Whether the application is approved or not, it is good for both parties. While we know the league is fine, is furthers the thought that the league is healthy. 

I remember back in the mid-1980s when an article was floated that the Tanduay Rhum Makers were considering tapping then-Philadelphia 76ers forward Charles Barkley as an import. Man, that was newspaper fodder back then! Imagine if there was social media at that time. While it ultimately proved to be false and was in all likelihood generated for some publicity it had people buzzing about the Rhum Makers and the PBA.

Now if AMA does join in three years’ time, the last couple of teams to join – BlackWater and Mahindra -- will have been fully developed and have built themselves up. So it will be good for some new kids on the block – and I figure there will be another to follow in AMA’s footsteps – to find their way.

For now, it’s good news. 

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.