THE Philippine Basketball Association is bringing back the unlimited height limit among imports in the Commissioner’s Cup while retaining the 6-foot-5 stature among reinforcements for the season-ending Governors Cup.
The import-spiked conferences last season were both decided in a classic Game Seven, with Denzel Bowles steering the B-Meg Llamados to an epic overtime win over Talk `N Text for the Commissioner’s Cup crown, and Jamelle Cornley anchoring an underdog Rain or Shine squad past the heavily-favored Llamados to the Governors Cup championship.
The success of the two tournaments formed part of the record-breaking P110 million earnings in the league’s gate receipts for the last 37th season and convinced the league's board of governors to retain both import formats during its three-day directorial meeting in Macau.
“The fans reacted very favorably to imports of unlimited height,” said Ginebra’s Robert Non, who succeeds Atty. Mamerto Mondragon of Rain or Shine as PBA chairman.
“Para sa kanila, the taller the better.”
But the board also approved a slight modification in the format of the season-ending meet that will have teams again going through a playoff-style match up.
“Based on our studies, the third conference playoffs proved to be the weakest since there are no match-ups unlike in the first and second conferences,” said Commissioner Chito Salud, who also got a fresh mandate from the board.
“So we are going to address that by putting into place an additional phase during the third conference featuring more playoffs,” he added.
A slight dip in gates and television ratings were noticed during the Governors Cup semifinals, where the six qualifiers from the single-round eliminations went through another single-round phase.
As recommended by Salud and approved by the teams' representatives, the next Governors Cup will again feature a single round classifications phase, but this time only two will be eliminated.
“The top four will have a twice-to-beat advantage each in the quarterfinals and the four winners will then engage in best-of-five semifinals duels. The finalists then vie for the title in a best-of-seven series,” added PBA operations chief Rickie Santos.
The Philippine Cup again kicks off the season on September 30, with the same 14-game, inter-intra format.
Assisting Non in the coming 38th season of the league is new vice-chairman Ramon Segismundo of Meralco.