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PBA puts expansion on hold; teams stay

MANILA, Philippines —  PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa isn’t rushing expansion and even as at least two corporations are knocking on the pro league’s door, the decision for the moment is to retain 12 franchises in the fold.

“We’re holding things in abeyance,” said Narvasa. “There is interest from at least two entities to join the PBA and of course, that’s a positive sign. But right now, our schedule is full. What days in the week do we add if we expand to more than 12 teams? Instead, we’re focusing on every existing franchise to improve. The coming draft on Oct. 29 will be deep and bring in a lot of exciting talent.”

Chito Narvasa
Narvasa said the recent Blackwater turnaround should inspire teams in the lower half of the leader board to improve their standing. “A team like Kia should be encouraged by what Blackwater has done,” he said. “Not being competitive isn’t good for the brand of a team or the PBA. We know there’s such a thing as a learning curve but a team can’t take too long to move up. Take the MVP and San Miguel teams. They take pride in all the brands they carry and that should prod other teams to find ways to improve. It’s a challenge for other teams to beat their standards of good competition.”

Narvasa cited the case of Rain Or Shine as an “independent” franchise that has been a constant contender. In the Governors Cup, the Elasto Painters finished in a four-way tie for fourth place at the end of the eliminations and pushed TNT to the brink before bowing out of the quarterfinal playoffs. Rain Or Shine was the only PBA team to release two veterans, Gabe Norwood and Raymond Almazan, to Gilas for the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon while the third conference was underway. Two other teams, TNT and Alaska, released a veteran and a cadet.

Another case that Narvasa singled out was Blackwater. The Elite made it to the Governors Cup playoffs and forced Meralco to a do-or-die duel before yielding. A series of bold trades had brought Blackwater to a higher level of competitiveness. Narvasa also mentioned Phoenix as an example of a franchise looking to retool by acquiring additional picks in the coming draft.

Author: Joaquin Henson, Philippine Star
Full Article: http://www.philstar.com/sports/2017/10/16/1749334/pba-puts-expansion-hold-teams-stay

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