BUOYED up by its initial success, the Filsports Basketball Association (FBA) hopes to pick up from where it left off as it unveils its second edition this Friday at the Marikina Sports Complex.
The fledgling league is fresh from a smashing breakthrough a few months ago that saw Quezon City-University of the Philippines beat out Pampanga Foton in a winner-take-all match to win the inaugural championship.
Both Quezon City-UP and Pampanga will be back for the season’s second conference along with six other teams as the league eyes a bigger and better playing field.
“The first conference went pretty well with QC-UP emerging as champion. And they say the confidence and experience gained by the Fighting Maroons have been a big help in their ongoing campaign in the UAAP. To be honest, we’re flattered about that,” said FBA commissioner Vince Hizon, who made his first Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum appearance in a long while on Tuesday at Shakey’s Malate.
Also seeing action in the tournament now to be aired over Sports 5 are Manila-National University, Pateros, Marikina-Wangs, and Malolos Mighty.
Hizon, joined in the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Accel, Shakey’s, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., by FBA CEO LJ Serrano, said the two other teams are already 99 percent sure of joining although he’d rather not mention its names.
Opening day matches will have QC-UP battling Manila-NU in the first game at 4 p.m., while Pateros, handled by former PBA player Nic Belasco and assisted by Ali Peek, faces Marikina Wangs at 6 p.m.
Serrano said the eliminations will be a double round, with the top four teams advancing in a pair of knockout games in the semifinals. The two survivors of the Final Four will then meet in a best-of-three series for the title.
Hizon, the former Ginebra shooting guard out of Ateneo, said the FBA remains committed in discovering and developing players within the grassroots level as league rules require that half of a team’s roster should come for their respective areas.
“We’re three things: regional, grassroots, and amateur,” said the FBA commissioner. “It’s unique and something which I believe will help Philippine basketball.
Added Serrano, “what makes FBA one of its kind is we make it a point for each team to promote grassroots advocacy.”
Teams are also allowed to tap two former pro players each, but who will only be played one at a time.