Liga Pilipinas, another MBA in the making?

There’s a new league in town and is patterned after the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA). The Liga Pilipinas is ex-Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) comish Noli Eala’s newest pet project after getting the boot from the pro league (ok I didn’t include his boxing promotions). The league inaugurals will kick off on May 23-25 in the three key cities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, after months of resetting the opening date. So will Liga Pilipinas follow the MBA’s path to instant stardom or die a sudden death after reaching its momentum? Well, we’ll never know for sure. We hope Liga will stay as long as the PBA.

Liga Pilipinas is actually a merger between two minor leagues – the Mindanao Visayas Basketball Association (MVBA) and the National Basketball Conference (NBC). It is owned and operated by Pinoy Basketbol, Inc. (PBI), a member of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

Like the MBA, Liga is a region-based league. Unlike the MBA, however, Liga will work on a tight budget, around P10-12 million per year, less than the cost of maintaining a Philippine Basketball League (PBL) squad. FIBA rules will be enforced and minimum monthly salary for players will be set at P10,000 and maxes out at P20,000, this however, doesn’t include performance bonuses. It could be possible that bonuses are bigger than the player salaries in itself.

Sixteen teams banner the new league � eight each in the south and north. Teams from the north are Taguig, Ilocos Sur, Cavite, Pampanga while Cebu, Iloilo, Mandaue, Cagayan de Oro, Pagadian, Zamboanga, Ozamiz, and Davao banner the south teams. The league will select four to complete the cast of 16 from among teams from Rizal (Rep. Robbie Puno and Gov. Jun Ynares), Batangas (Sen. Ralph Recto), Baguio (Mayor Reinaldo Bautista), Tacloban (Kenneth Uy), General Santos City (Manny Pacquiao), Bacolod City (Dodong Bascon), Surigao del Sur (former Rep. Butch Pichay) and Ormoc.

Those who already have team monickers are the Latinos from Zamboanga (because they’re said to be the only Asian Latin city), the Warriors from Iloilo, the Ni�os from Cebu (for obvious reasons), Cota (fort) from Ozamis, and the Rescuers from Cagayan. If Baguio makes it, they will likely use the monicker the Centennials.

I suggest the other teams name theirs as the Connoisseurs (Pampanga), Miners (Cavite), Thorns (Davao), Vines (Mandaue), Caravans (Laguna), or even the Balisongs (Batangas). I don’t know about the others but maybe you have an idea? Opps you can’t use the old MBA team monickers like the Cebu Gems, Pampanga Dragons, Davao Eagles, Negros Slashers, Batangas Blades because they’re proprietary to the old MBA teams.

The league allows each team to have 14 players (only 12 can play each game) – a minimum of 8 homegrown talents, 2 ex-pros, 1 fil-foreigner (which means they can tap 3 amateurs not from its region). This is good because we could ultimately see the next Jun Simon, Dondon Hontiveros, John Ferriols and Reynel Hugnatan waiting to be discovered from the ranks. This could also mean added exposure for Fil-foreign prospects (if and when they decide to come here) such as 5-9 Jeff Dosado (AIC), 6-5 Jared Dillinger (Hawaii), 6-4 Emel Rowe (Australia), and 5-10 Ryan Wetherell (Southern California) before they make a big jump to the PBA, and perhaps a new lease of life on ex-pros like Nelson Asaytono, EJ Feihl, Jimwell Torion, Stephen Padilla.

The league format will be a hybrid of sorts, a combination of the the point system used in the Euroleague, UEFA, the European and PGA Golf Tours, and the Association of Tennis Professionals. Weekly tournament legs will be held in each of the homecourts of the participating teams, with leg winners declared as leg champions and each get some sort of cash incentives. They also accrue points that will determine placings in the National Championship.

It works like this, after the initial phase wherein each team hosts a weekly tournament, the 12 top finishers (teams with the most number of points) will advance to the playoffs, so much like the NBA. The playoffs will consist of a wildcard stage involving eight teams, four best-of-five quarterfinal series, two best-of-five semifinal series and one best-of-five finals. Funny, it works like the PBA, too.

Unlike the MBA, travelling expenses will not be mammoth. Each home team will host one tournament leg and will not travel constantly during the initial stages of the tournament. The home-and-away format will be only be used during the National championship phase. There will be two conferences per season, each spanning approximately for four months. The league is also coordinating with the Philippine Basketball League and may schedule its games at the end of the PBL conference, making it possible to tap topflight PBL talents into its fold.

According to reports, the games will be shown over the internet on (well, don’t try it, it’s still not working) and possibly for ABC-5 (well, they couldn’t get the PBA back). If this league pans out, ABC people will have the last laugh.

I can’t wait for the opening of the games. I admit showing preference for the MBA during its early seasons and have the same excitement for Liga Pilipinas. More basketball means more fun! Are you ready to join the bandwagon?

19 thoughts on “Liga Pilipinas, another MBA in the making?”

  1. i’m from montreal and as i know jeff dosado is flying in this may 8,2008 going to play for pampanga cos his mom is from there.. i think he will stay there or in iloilo..maybe..for sure youll met him in person soon… good luck and God bless you

  2. thats cool. I cant see PBA to be shown on Channel 7 or 2 because they have telenovelas and telefantasya. Can i have an update whos bidding for the coverage of the PBA??? Pls john.

  3. Actually Carlo there are three TV outfits who are vying for the PBA TV coverage: These are Solar Sports (RPN-9 and BTV), ABS-CBN (Studio 23) and the Makisig Channel (IBC-13 and Skycable Channel 76). The way it looks, ABS-CBN is the top choice to land the coverage because of its incredible marketing reach.

  4. sana nde manalo ang abs cbn. for sure sa 23 nila ilalagay yan, malabo 23 in some areas. Im sure Liga Pilipinas will be a great hit if given enough exposure. So we can again see our basketball idols from the past the likes of Noli Locsin, Nelson Asaytono, Bong Alvarez etc to show some stuff again. The spirit is very much alive because most of the players will for their hometown, its like NCAA and UAAP. Im excited to see ex pros to play for them….

  5. it’s a good development that liga pilipinas is about to open.. if ever abc 5 will cover them, hope they improve their transmission signal since they are already a partner of a malaysian channel.. on the league, it’s a good thing that they are tight on the salaries, but they should also monitor these performance bonus.. it might trigger sumthing.. ex.. player 1 have roots in pampangga and iloilo.. currenty playing for iloilo but was given a bigger performance benefit in pampanga and decided to go to pampanga even though it widely known that his fr iloilo since his college days.. if liga can set parameters that will avoid that, then count me in.. you got 1 avid philippine basketball supporter here.. hope to be included on the basketball circle sumday, it’s one of my dreams.. he he he.. GO antipolo!!

  6. This is exciting. This is my personal vision of basketball in the Philippines. An NBA type of a league where every team has a leverage due to the home and away format.

    I am currently connected with Global Destiny Cable TV and I can have this featured with our news.

    Please do let me know so I can help you with the info campaign that you may have.

    Sana nga, wala na rin PBL and will merge na with your league.

    That will be the day!

  7. Under the current set up ng PBA, the mgmt. will always hope for Ginebra to win..Imagine if the finals will be alaska vs welcoat…

    Ililibre na nila admission nyan…

    I always thought that the PBA lacks dynamism eh. Parang ok na sa kanila yung present state nila.

    Pag pumutok itong liga pilipinas, I tell you, gagawa din ng moves ang PBA..

  8. liga pilipinas will be covered by NBN-4 and IBC-13 using broadband transmission.

    liga preseason games will start tomorrow in Cebu (for 4 days). A similar 4-day preseason games for northern teams will start on Sunday in Taguig.

  9. Hi John.

    I think we do have in Cebu City. Let me get the contact details there so that you can call them.

    Are you, in some way, connected with Liga Pilipinas? Please let me know so that I can tie some strings with the league…


  10. Pages: Minus BTV, what’s basketball without the NBA?
    By John Pages
    Match Point

    PACO Jarque is one of the luckiest people in Cebu.

    Why? It’s not because he won the P138,000,000 Super Lotto jackpot or scored a hole-in-one in golf then drove home a brand-new BMW X5, it’s this: Unlike you and me and tens of thousands of others living on this island who love basketball, he gets to watch—everyday—the 2008 NBA Playoffs. Not on the internet. Not via delayed telecast. Not from listening to Y101 updates. But “live.”

    “I watch almost all the games,” said Paco, when we spoke on the phone yesterday.

    When I called him at around 11:40 in the morning, guess what, he was watching and updating me—in real time—the Game 4 score of the L.A. Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs.

    “Nine-point lead for the Lakers,” he said. “And it’s the last three minutes of the game.”
    Lucky, Paco.

    Because while the majority of us fall under one of three categories: a) Don’t have cable TV connection; b) Subscribed to SkyCable; and c) Connected to Dream TV—and we all can’t watch the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Finals—and, worse, the NBA Finals next week—Paco Jarque can.

    Residing in Mandaue City, Paco has Destiny Cable connected. “I’ve been with Destiny for over one year now and pay only P600 per month,” he said. “Plus, aside from BTV, they have the many channels that SkyCable had before… Solar Sports, Jack TV…”

    Too bad for us.

    Ever since Basketball TV (BTV) was cutoff from the channel lineup of SkyCable last Jan. 1, we’d been cutoff from the National Basketball Association. I recall reading, on many occasions early this year, complaints from many, many readers, aired by my most esteemed Sun.Star colleagues: Frank Malilong, Jingo Quijano and Edgar Chiongbian. These three lambasted SkyCable for deleting these channels from the lineup. And rightfully so.

    Destiny Cable? They’d be everybody’s choice except that, when I called to inquire last week, they operate only in Mandaue. Very soon, the person whom I spoke to on the phone said, they’ll be in Cebu City—but first, only around the Guadalupe area.

    Even our very mayor, Tommy Osmeña—a huge, huge NBA fan, I’m told—is fuming mad about SkyCable’s disconnection of BTV and can’t wait to have Destiny Cable in his city.

    Paco Jarque?

    He’s enjoying the NBA. The eldest son of Cisco and Marilen Jarque, I’ve known Paco, now 30, for many, many years—dating back to our high school days at the Cebu International School. And even back then, I’ve known that his favorite sport is—surprise!—basketball. He played the game before and, up until now, continues to dribble and shoot every Tuesday night with friends at Bright Academy.

    Who are you rooting for? I asked.

    “Lakers,” he said. “I was a big Miami Heat fan, especially of Dwayne Wade. I rooted for them during that time when they won. But now that they’re down, I’d have to go with the Lakers.”

    A Lakers-Celtics final?

    “No. I like Detroit in the East. I hope it’s a Lakers-Detroit final. I don’t like the Celtics this year… maybe they can win the title next year. I like Detroit because they’ve been together for many years and only won one title. So, maybe this year again…”

    Finally, before our conversation ended, I asked Paco if some of his friends are envious that he gets to watch the NBA Playoffs while they can’t.

    “My dad and uncles all come to my house to watch. My cousin Edward also watches here,” he said.

    Your buddies?

    Paco laughed hard.

    “I always joke all my friends who can’t watch… Napul-an nako sa NBA!”


Leave a Reply