MANILA, Philippines – Organizers of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) are looking to broaden their horizons, even as they gear up for the 15th edition of their tournament.
In a press conference on Tuesday, PCCL chair Reynaldo Gamboa revealed that plans are in motion to organize an international tournament, patterned after the William Jones Cup, among collegiate champion teams.
"Our dream really is to have our national collegiate champion meet other champions from other countries," Gamboa said. "That's our next step. We'll try to organize something like a Jones Cup for collegiate teams."
Gamboa said they have already sent feelers to five countries, including Japan, Taiwan, and Korea, to play in the tournament.
"We have replies from five countries (already)," he said.
Another PCCL executive, Atty. Pablo de Borja, further pointed out that an international tournament is another way to encourage the Philippine collegiate teams to participate in the national championships.
"The collegiate champions will have more incentive to play in the PCCL, because they will represent the Philippines," he explained.
The major problem, according to Gamboa, is the schedule. The collegiate basketball seasons of other Asian countries do not match with the Philippines' schedule.
"We're trying to see how we can align (the schedule)," said Gamboa. "The basketball program here in the Philippines is already set."
"The collegiate calendar is not the same as ours, so that's one thing we'll try to overcome. But that is the objective – that the national championship from the Philippines will compete with other collegiate schools," he added.
Gamboa said they have the support of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas in their project, and are hoping to hold the inaugural season later this year.
"Ang feeling namin kasi is, once we get this started, it will gather. Mahirap sa umpisa eh. Pero 'pag na-umpisahan 'yan, then the ball will start rolling. That's how the Jones Cup started," he explained.
The plan is for five teams, including the Philippines, to compete in the first year of the tournament. They also intend for the hosting to be shuffled among the participating countries, so that the collegiate teams will be exposed to different arenas.
In the meantime, the Elite 8 of the PCCL National Collegiate Championships will kick off on February 8 at the Ynares Gym in Pasig City.
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