THE Asean Basketball League is looking to expand its roster of teams and several groups including those based in the Philippines have expressed interest in joining, according to league CEO Anthony Macri.
Macri did not reveal much detail but said it might take at least another month to confirm whether the groups are actually capable of putting up and maintaining a second Philippine-based team in the fledging regional league after the San Miguel Beermen.
“There is certainly a possibility that there could be an additional Philippine team,” Macri told Spin.ph. “But we won’t know that in probably another month or two if it will come through.”
Macri said it was no surprise that Filipino groups are keen to join the home and away league.
“There are groups from the Philippines that have had interest. The Philippines is such a hotbed for basketball and it’s easy to find them,” said Macri, who once worked with NBA players, owners, agents, and management for different private firms and now chief executive officer of the six-team ABL.
San Miguel entered the league last year and joined the Philippine Patriots, who were part of the league from its maiden season in 2009 up to last year when team owner Mikee Romero was able to acquire a franchise in the Philippine Basketball Association.
Macri said the league is definitely open to new teams, but the league would like to make due diligence before making the move.
“We definitely have a desire in aligning ourselves with new partners that bring the league value and can help us grow the right way. But we want to make sure that we don’t expand just for the sake of it,” Macri said.
“It has to be the right ownership group, the right vision as our current owners, and they have to bring something to grow things,” he said.
“We have a few ownership groups that expressed interest and my hope is over the last couple of months, we can really fine-tune which ones are making commitments for 2014, and which one are more of a long-term process,” Macri added.
Marci said that a group from Myanmar is also considering joining the ABL.
“They have an interest but we got to make sure that they are ready to make a commitment to do this because it’s a big thing to have a professional team,” Macri said.
Macri said that all current ABL owners including the Beermen are committed long-term to the league.
“We want to make sure that we have a long-term commitment with each of our owners to grow the league the right way, and that comes down to making sure that we are on the same page in terms of vision and understanding,” Macri said.