MANILA, Philippines -- The NBL and WNBL on Saturday will unveil a new format of basketball, designed to test the skills of their players in a unique way.
The leagues, which officially turned professional last year, will hold one-on-one matches at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.
Organizers are billing it as a unique blend of boxing and basketball, where players are classified into weight classes and games are separated by rounds rather than quarters.
"It's just like having a boxing (match) pero basketball 'yung laro natin. Definitely, it's going to be entertaining for our Filipino fans and audience," said Rhose Montreal, NBL/WNBL executive vice president, on Tuesday's Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum.
"(We will have) tale of the tape in basketball. Kasi you measure the height, you officially measure the height, you officially measure the wingspan, the weight, and all that," she added.
The WNBL features five matches: Gilas Pilipinas women icon Allana Lim against Snow Penaranda in light-heavyweight; Jhenn Chrystelle Angeles versus Angelica De Austria in lightweight; Stephanie Ventura versus Nicole Cancio in welterweight; Jolina Go against Nicole delos Reyes in featherweight; and Jo Razalo opposite Girly Villaflores in heavyweight.
The NBL, meanwhile, will have three matches: Raymart Amil against Marvin Baracael in welterweight; Christopher Lagrama versus Mark Tamayo in featherweight; and former Barangay Ginebra guard Teytey Teodoro going up against San Beda University's Arnaud Noah in the heavyweight division.
According to Montreal, the showdown between Lim and Penaranda will be the main event.
"'Yung pairing natin for the launch, pinag-aralan natin. Walang lopsided na match. Alam natin na mage-enjoy ang mga tao pag pinanood po nila," she also guaranteed.
The one-on-one matches will feature three rounds of five minutes per game, with a two-minute interval between rounds. Games are race-to-30 affairs. There will be no timeouts in the NBL, while WNBL games will have one timeout per round.
Rather than prize money, the winning players will be awarded a championship belt.
"For every leg, there will be a parang mini belt for that. And then, they will also be getting some tokens from our supporters," said Montreal. "It's really more on pride, and it's really more on looking forward to getting a gold belt at the end of the season."
The one-on-one competition also serves as the launch of the NBL/WNBL season, while the organizers wait for quarantine restrictions to be further eased so that they can officially open the 3x3 and 5-on-5 events as well.
The games will be aired on the NBL's YouTube and Facebook accounts.