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PBA will die a slow death if it doesn’t evolve into a regional league, says Tommy Manotoc

Former PBA coach Tommy Manotoc has one thing in mind when asked about how the Philippine Basketball Association can surmount menace after a bunch of Filipino basketball players opted to pursue overseas careers – “Go regional.”

The grand slam coach bared that the only way for the 46-year old pro league to ‘get to the next level’ is to evolve into a regional league, regain the support of fans, and hopefully survive at a crucial juncture in its history.

“The PBA needs to bite the bullet, and it needs to bite the bullet now,” said Manotoc in an interview with Spin.ph on PBA’s gradual decline over the past few years.

Manotoc led Crispa Redmanizers to the league’s second ever Grand Slam in 1983 and guided U-Tex Wranglers and San Miguel Beermen in his tenure as a seasoned coach, where he bagged six titles.

The former deputy commissioner had also kept an eye on league’s successful transition from the prime years of the Crispa-Toyota era.

However, as the PBA figured with a tug of war with Asian leagues when young Filipino playmakers signed contracts with pro teams in Japan’s B. League and Taiwan’s T1 League in particular, Manotoc saw it as a sign of PBA being ‘stagnant’.

“Now, where are we going? We’re going nowhere,” he said. “It needs to evolve. It needs to do that to get to the next level.”

He admitted that it will really be challenging for the league to step up to the plate with the exodus of top caliber playmakers plus the dismay fans felt about dubious trades.

“[The PBA] will die a slow death,” he said when asked what would happen if the league continued to struggle improving its current form.

The 68-year old mentor added that the high-caliber tournaments in the world, be it basketball, football or any sport, are regional in nature. Japan’s B.League, for instance, has been able to establish a loyal fan base in a just a short time due to its regional format.

Moreover, just like Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s MPBL and the VisMin Cup which will restart their seasons in time, regional leagues are no longer new in the country – not to mention MBA which started in the nineties.

He pointed out that the regional league’s TV coverage will be a lot more manageable and less expensive, and infrastructures in the countryside with impressive stadiums and hotels are readily available.

The challenge, according to Manotoc, is how major corporations in PBA would turn their teams into athletic clubs representing key regions in the country. These clubs can eventually be backed by sponsorships and merchandise sale from the companies in their respective regions.

“The infrastructure is already there. Everywhere you go, you see big gyms and hotels,” Manotoc said. “And these ballclubs can eventually become self-sustaining since they can enjoy support from the regions where they are based.”

Compromises will have to be made, says Manotoc. These teams need the support of local officials who have control of the infrastructures to be used.

When asked about whether it is it is doable or not, Manotoc firmly answered “Yes”.

“You will develop more fans if the games are held in the provinces. You will have more viewers, more mass participation, home and away, that will eventually increase the value of the product, “he added. “In the long run, [these companies] will be the ones to gain from the [transition].”

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Comments

@peepso_user_215(sniper )
actually the process of dying has already begun, panahon pa ng Air21 at Red Bull. umalis nga pero napalitan naman ng Blackwater at Terrafirma. got worse nung naupo ang immoral na alfrancis chua sa SMC group ng liga.

for now humihinga pa. pero kapag naging pro league na ang Filbasket at MPBL plus full-blown hiring of Pinoy imports in other Asia leagues. yan ang magiging death blow.
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