MANILA, Philippines -- The PBA's decision to welcome a guest team will be beneficial to the league's ball clubs, commissioner Willie Marcial said on Monday.
The PBA will feature a foreign guest team for the first time since 2004 when Hong Kong's Bay Area Dragons compete in the Governors' Cup next season.
The league struck a deal with the East Asia Super League (EASL), which formed the team in cooperation with the Hong Kong Basketball Association.
"This is a great opportunity for the PBA," said Marcial in a press conference Monday where more details of the partnership were revealed.
The Bay Area Dragons will feature players from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Chinese Taipei, as well as one Asian import and two foreign imports. They are expected to be in Manila by August 1, and will stay here until March 2023 when the EASL season concludes.
The team will also be eligible to win the Governors' Cup crown, and Marcial has no doubt that the PBA teams are eager for the chance to test themselves against the guest club.
"It's both ways eh. They will learn from us, and we will also learn from them," said Marcial. "They will see Philippine basketball, and we will see how the Chinese team plays basketball."
"So it's both ways, so I think it's good for EASL and PBA," he added.
Marcial also believes that having the Dragons in the fold will be a prime opportunity for the PBA to increase its audience.
"Maybe the Chinese community will watch the PBA," the commissioner said.
"It's a big opportunity, and I just want to thank EASL for joining the PBA and the Governors' Cup. It's a plus-factor for the PBA," he added.
It's not just the PBA that may benefit from the Bay Area Dragons' entry to the professional league.
According to EASL founder and chief executive Matt Beyer, they are willing to hold scrimmages against the Philippine men's national basketball team.
"Of course, 100%. I hope that we play against Gilas many times," said Beyer. "I hope that this is something that we can work with, with the PBA, to make sure that these games are shown on broadcast."
"Let's get the Gilas better, and let's make a huge commercial impact as well, and let's just keep giving the fans what they want, which is more exciting basketball after this horrible pandemic," he said.