AFTER a long wait, a regional basketball league patterned after the Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) is set to launch in August with backing from television network ABS-CBN.
Sources told SPIN.ph that the Countrywide Basketball League (CWBL) is set to unfurl on August 7 with an initial six teams from all over the country competing in the home-and-away format that has made the MBA a big hit among fans in the nineties.
LandMasters (Cebu), M. Lhuillier-Cebu, Manny Pacquiao-GenSan, Flying V-Davao, Anak ng Laguna and Mighty Sports-Bulacan will be competing in the debut season of the league to be supervised by legendary coach Joe Lipa, with lawyer Pablo De Borja as its founding commissioner.
The teams will play under Fiba (amateur) rules in a double-round robin eliminations to determine the four teams that will make the playoffs.
And with the home-and-away format proving to be a huge challenge financially during the MBA's glory years, the CWBL will have the home team playing two straight games on its homecourt every Thursday and Friday, with all the games to be carried by ABS-CBN Sports and Action.
“Yun ang format, dalawang sunod na araw ang laro tapos pahinga na at ensayo, then lilipat na sila sa ibang host, two straight days of games ulit the following week,” said the source.
“Hindi naman mapapagod ang host team kasi two games a week lang naman eh. And it will be beneficial sa audience kasi dalawang laro agad sa lugar nila ang mapapanod nila,” he added.
Unlike other leagues where there are restrictions on players, the CWBL will hold open tournaments and will allow teams to acquire as many former PBA players as possible.
The teams will also be allowed to bring in Fil-foreign players provided that they possess valid Philippine passports.
In fact, SPIN.ph has learned that PBA legend Kenneth Duremdes might stage a comeback in the CWBL by acting as the playing coach of the Pacquiao-GenSan team.
The CWBL will hold three conferences each season.
“Three conferences din yan pero unlike sa PBA, wala kaming imports sa second and third conferences, puro aksyong Pinoy 'yan. Sana tangkilikin ng publiko ito,” said one of the organizers.
“Marami tayong kababayang nangangarap na mabalik ang MBA dati. Ito na po 'yun. And this will bring regular high level basketball to the provinces,” he added.
The organizers will officially introduce the league to the public this coming Tuesday.