Renewing PBA ties
IT is hard to imagine sometimes that the first time I watched a live game in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) was in 1978 as an eager beaver and aspiring part-time sportswriter.
That is why it felt good to me to have attended the PBA press conference at the Conrad Hotel last Tuesday, renewing acquaintances and seeing PBA personalities and sportswriters, all veterans now, whom I have not seen for quite some time.
In fact, when I saw the present PBA Board of Governors, there were more people I did not know than people I knew. Some I know but do not know me unfortunately or the simple reason that I have not been able to follow anymore the PBA the way I did before. Commuting wherever the game was played, including out-of-town games at times and coming out with endless features and sports columns in various sport magazines I used to write for but now all extinct like Sports Weekly, Sports World, Sports Mirror and Sports Digest, among others.
I am happy I saw PBA long-time staffer Hazel Dacanay Arceo, a recovering cancer victim, now looking good. I am glad that Willie Marcial, who rose through the ranks in the PBA, taking time to chat with me and agreeing to a one-on-one or a feature I will do on him. Same with Dickie Bachmann, former Alaska player now the team manager and PBA governor, sharing with me the heartbreaks of entering the PBA Finals five times in the last three years but failing to win a championship, bad breaks and player injuries among the reasons.
And when I posted a selfie of me at the event saying I was back in the PBA, I was surprised at the number of people, some from way back, congratulating me on my post that now I am pressured by the expectation that I will be again following the league and doing columns, news and feature stories like I used to in the good old days.
Truth is I am not sure I would have the energy to drive regularly from my house in Taguig to the PBA games and back because of the traffic I will be facing on the roads. Not to mention that since I will be turning 0 or the 1th straight year this March, I try to avoid night driving as much as possible. The intention is there though as I have to admit, I miss those days too.
Now what did I learn at the presscon that I can share with you?
For one, PBA chairman and concurrent Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Ricky Vargas will be serving another term at the helm. And being an HR practitioner by profession like me, it seems he has managed to develop the PBA Board of Governors into a more unified group acting for the interest of the league.
He shared that the group has finally resolved a recurring and divisive issue concerning the terms of office of the Commissioner with everyone agreeing to extend the term to three years with Willie as the first to benefit from the change as he is now on his second year as Commissioner.
Ricky also shared the fact that the PBA, despite the dip in gate receipts, managed to earn a net income of P160 million last year crediting it to the marketing efforts of his team that managed to secure more sponsorship deals for the league.
And that this year, the PBA is targeting to even earn more just from the online advertising they will offer, even hiring a new group to focus on this aspect.
I asked what specific plans they had for this and in keeping with the times they want to improve gate attendance particularly during the elimination round by making it an ‘I Was There’ experience for younger basketball fans who are all social media addicts and using all portals like YouTube, Twitter and Instagram as part of their marketing tools.
What was interesting was the admission by all present governors that the San Miguel Beermen are the team to beat especially in the all-Filipino conference which the team has ruled the last four years.
Fact is, the SMC Group franchise won all the three titles in 2018 with the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings and Magnolia Hotshots taking the other two crowns.
Of course, detractors would say that it is not good as it shows the strong teams getting stronger despite a draft that would supposedly act as a parity creator in the league. But then why will I find fault with a team or a franchise for that matter?
Independent team Alaska ruled the league in the 1990s, that is a fact that no one can deny, and the weaker teams in the past have gained grounds and are reaching the playoffs now.
I want to see CJ Perez, the top rookie draft pick who will see action for the Columbian Dyip, and see how he can impact both the league and his team.
I would be interested to see how Terrence Romeo work it out with his new team, San Miguel Beer.
And I am interested in seeing how the player trades will work out, but then I can only do these if I watch the PBA again.
Now does it mean I will now claim my PBA pass anew after a long absence? Your guess is as good as mine.
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