UNABLE to find any takers and its season drawing near, the Asean Basketball League is now studying the viability of bankrolling a team that will represent the Philippines in the regional league.
According to sources, league officials have already "agreed in principle" to finance a Philippine-based team for next season. The plan also has the backing of ABL team owners, the source added.
“Backed by money from the league, this is the best possible scenario,” said a person with knowledge of the situation but requested that he not be named.
The league is now in the process of forming a group that would put up the team on behalf of the league in time for the regional league's scheduled opening in July.
The initial plan is to play the team's games in the provinces, the source said.
Over the past months, the ABL has been unable to secure a commitment from individuals and companies to put up a Philippine team to take over from San Miguel Beer, which disbanded its team after reigning as champion last season.
Among those approached by the league were the Manny Pangilinan group, Cebuana Lhuilier, LBC Group, Blackwater Sports, and even the camp of world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.
Among them, Blackwater owner Dioceldo Sy came closest to saying yes, but the plan failed to push through after the company's application for a PBA franchise was accepted by the pro league.
Aside from the Philippines, sources said there is also a league plan to bankroll an ABL team that will be based in Thailand.
“There is also a plan to help finance the Thailand team,” said the source.