TOP officials of the Asia League hope more PBA ballclubs would follow the path of Blackwater and join their two featured tournaments by next year.
Matt Beyer, chief executive officer of Asia League, said the exposure of the Elite in the ‘Summer Super 8’ somehow benefited the team during its campaign in the season-ending Governors Cup.
“Blackwater achieved a great result in the next conference, placing fifth (at the end of the eliminations), and had a strong start, beating some really powerful teams, too,” Beyer noted during his brief visit to the country last week accompanied by chief financial officer (CFO) Henry Kerins.
“The type of tournament formats in the offseason are really a good way for teams to grow their camaraderie and to become more unified as a team,” he added.
Along with NLEX, Blackwater competed in the second edition of the Super 8 last July in Macau featuring teams from the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), Korean Basketball League (KBL), the B-League (Japan), and the Super Basketball League (SBL) of Chinese Taipei.
The Road Warriors managed to book a semifinals seat, but the Elite failed to advance owing to an inferior quotient.
The Guangzhou Lions, who eliminated the Road Warriors in the battle for a finals berth, beat the Seoul Samsung Thunders in the winner-take-all finale, 78-72, to rule the tournament, which attracted a viewership of 25 million in the entire East Asia.
Blackwater came back a different a team for the Governors Cup, though, winning six of their first seven games for its strong start ever in franchise history. It ended up being the fifth-seeded team after the eliminations to make the playoffs of the season-ending meet for the second year in a row.
“We did improve when we came back,” said team owner Dioceldo Sy, who had Beyer and Kerins as his special guests during the Team Pilipinas-Iran game in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.
NLEX, likewise, had a strong start in its campaign, going 4-2 in their first six games to likewise advance to the playoffs.
With the encouraging signs, Beyer wishes other PBA teams would also join the Super 8, now to be rebranded as ‘Macao International Summer League’ and to be held from July 16-21 or the ‘Terrific 12’ slated from September 17-22. Both tournaments are sanctioned by FIBA.
The IECO Warriors, a selection team composed of players from the PBA D-League and Blackwater, meanwhile, represented the country in the Terrific 12.
Beyer already sat down with PBA commissioner Willie Marcial about the matter, and will take up the proposal when the league’s board of governors holds its first meeting for 2019 in January.
“We would like to have as many PBA teams as possible. For the Summer (League), our goal is to have three teams, but we have to see if that is something the PBA and the board of governors will support. Coming here and meeting with the commissioner as well as different teams helps us push that goal along further,” said Beyer.
And if ever, he’s also hoping the same number of teams for the Terrific 12.
“But right now, nothing is completely set in stone,” added Beyer. “No matter what, a minimum of two teams for each of the event.”
The Summer League, which will also be expanded to 12 participating teams, will have each squad being provided with a draft pick for one import on their roster.