A REGIONAL commercial league being spearheaded by coaching great Joe Lipa is currently in the works, a development that could open new opportunities for players.
Lipa confirmed to Spin.ph he’s in the process of organizing the league which he said may open within this year and will involve club teams from all around the country.
“I’m in the process of organizing a nationwide commercial league,” said Lipa, no stranger to organizing regional basketball tournament in the country being one of the brains behind the founding of the Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL).
“We are opening within this year so we are fast-tracking everything,” the former national team coach said.
Lipa admitted the concept is similar to other cagefests including the defunct regional league Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA), although it will not be professional in nature.
“Ang format is like the NBA but it will be nationwide in the Philippines, parang MBA naman. This is a commercial league, ‘yung mga private companies, they are welcome to join. So parang PBL (Philippine Basketball League) or D-League combined,” Lipa said.
The champion coach, though, declined to go into specifics of the league, but bared he had already talked with several parties which showed interest in joining.
“May mga teams that showed a lot of interest, both provincial and in the NCR. I think we will have a more solid development before the end of the month,” Lipa said.
The regional concept was first introduced by the MBA, a professional regional cage league that ran from 1998 to 2002. The ambitious league rivaled the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in all aspects including the acquisition of marquee players.
The new league could be a welcome boost for fringe players who either could not make it to the PBA or couldn't keep their place in the 10-team pro league.
The PBA, in fact, has recognized the surplus of players available for pro teams as it sets out to expand its membership over the next two years.
Interestingly, ABS-CBN Sports, which aired and even partly bankrolled the MBA, is reportedly being eyed by Lipa to broadcast the league games.
Spin.ph also learned from several sources that a few PBA D-League teams have already been approached by Lipa on the possibility of joining the new league which is targeting a July opening or during the developmental league’s offseason.
The former University of the Philippines coach, however, clarified the league is not out to compete with the PBA D-League or even the PBA.
“Basta sumali sila, kung saan sila naglalaro, okay lang ‘yun. Wala kaming kinakalaban dito,” Lipa said.
He also said the commercial league will not be as big in the scale of the MBA or even the PBA D-League.
“Hindi ito kasing-laki ng MBA, hindi rin ito kasing-laki ng D-League. Commercial league lang talaga ito na nationwide,” stressed Lipa.