HOMEGROWN talents are set to take centerstage when the National Basketball League (NBL)-Philippines opens its maiden season on August 25.
NBL chairman Celso ‘Soy’ Mercado said the new league will have former PBA cager Nandy Garcia taking the role as commissioner, and former PBA referee Edward Aquino as head of basketball operations.
Mercado said the NBL will solely be focusing on fielding homegrown talents aged 18 to 29 years old with the team’s entire 15-man roster based in the province, city, or municipality the team is carrying.
“As you can see sa ibang league, whether professional or commercial, since we are an amateur league, kahit saan puwede. Ang idea natin, homegrown. The team is composed of number of players pero dapat lahat sila homegrown talent,” said Mercado in a roundtable discussion with a handful of reporters recently.
“Kaya natin binuo itong NBL para mabigyan natin ng pagkakataon ‘yung hindi nagka-meron ng break,” said Mercado.
The league will also be aired on Basketball TV.
Mercado made it clear the NBL is not competing with the PBA, PBA D-League, and the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL), which has the same home-and-away, regional format. The NBL chairman also said the league will impose guidelines as to who qualifies as a homegrown talent.
“’Yung mga fortunate ones, siyempre nasa commercial league, nasa professional league, nasa MPBL. Ang dinedevelop natin is homegrown talent na hindi pa nabibigyan ng pagkakataon,” said Mercado.
“In principle, we are not competing with any other league. If we are going to compare the league to other leagues, it’s totally different. We have eligibility na we will need to be implemented from the start pa lang ng league,” he added.
Mercado said the league is still in the process of finalizing the number of teams, although the NBL, in its Facebook page, has been posting schedules of tryouts being held by the potential teams that will play in the league.
Mercado admitted there have been many teams that are intent on joining the league, but added the NBL will have to make a decision on which teams will make the cut in the maiden season.
“Ang nag-aapply ay more than 10 teams na. Kailangan mag-desisyon kami sa next few days. Titignan natin kung paano natin ima-manage. Gusto nila lahat sumali. Ima-manage muna natin dun sa minimum number of teams,” said Mercado.