MANILA, Philippines - Done with the All-Star Week, the Philippine Basketball Association gets back to serious business, with the league board to decide on the fate of three expansion applicants in a special meeting Thursday.
Having observed due diligence, PBA commissioner Chito Salud said he will suggest to the board the approval of the application of NLEX, Blackwater and Team KIA.
Salud, however, stressed the decision to accept the membership application of the three hopefuls is to be made by the board alone.
“I’ve taken a look at their financial status. They’re all capable to maintain a PBA franchise. I will suggest their acceptance, but the decision to accept exclusively belongs to the board,” said Salud.
He said expansion application by NLEX, Blackwater and Team KIA is a testament to the major gains by the league in recent years.
“I believe adding the three would validate what we’ve been working hard for. The league has made the fans happy and has attracted various stakeholders,” said Salud.
“Never had there been three applicants for PBA expansion,” Salud added.
The league played its first season in 1975 with nine competing teams (Crispa, Toyota, San Miguel Beer, Tanduay, Great Taste, U-Tex, Mariwasa, Seven-Up and Carrier.
During the financial crisis in the mid-80s, the league membership dropped to six (Ginebra, Alaska, Tanduay, Great Taste, Shell and Manila Beer).
Towards the end of the 1986 season, SMB returned from a leave of absence then came the addition of Purefoods in 1988, Pepsi and RFM Swift in 1990, Sta. Lucia Realty in 1993, the return of Tanduay in 1999, Coca-Cola’s takeover of the RFM franchise in 2002, Red Bull’s expansion entry also in 2002, the addition of Air21 in 2005, Rain or Shine the following year , Meralco in 2010 and finally Globalport in 2012.
Meanwhile, action in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup resumes tomorrow with a twinbill pitting pacesetter Talk n Text versus Rain or Shine and back-to-back champ San Mig Coffee against Air21 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Before the tourney gave way to the All-Star Week, the Tropang Texters have clinched playoff top seeding at 7-0 while the Globalport Batang Pier have moved out of contention at 0-7.
San Mig Coffee (3-2), Rain or Shine (3-3) and Air21 (3-3) fight for playoff position in tomorrow’s game.