MULTI-titled D-League side NLEX is more than ready to move up if and when the top brass of the MVP Group of Companies decide to bring in a new team to the PBA.
This comes from no less than NLEX president Rodrigo Franco, who said the Road Warriors' dominant run in the developmental league is proof of their readiness to make the jump to the pros.
“We have always made sure that this team is formidable and competitive. And you can see it with their performance in the D-League. So it can be ready for elevation (to the PBA anytime),” the soft-spoken Franco said.
But Franco was quick to point out that the decision solely rests on the decision of MVP management.
They Said It!
“We have always made sure that this team is formidable and competitive. And you can see it with their performance in the D-League. So it can be ready for elevation (to the PBA anytime)." - NLEX president Rodrigo Franco
“It’s going to be a group decision (among the company’s higher-ups). Siyempre they will evaluate a lot of things diyan, among them, `Do we need another team in the PBA?” he added.
The MVP Group currently owns two franchises in the pro league namely, Talk `N Text and Meralco.
Franco, a native of Cabiao, Nueva Ecija, believes the PBA currently has enough surplus of players to accommodate as many as four more competitive ballclubs.
[For related story, see PBA finally opens doors to new teams as Segismundo pursues expansion]
“Mukhang masyado nang maraming magagaling na players ang bansa. Siguro we can afford to have new teams. That’s just my personal observation,” he said.
In next week’s rookie draft alone, 85 new players are vying for spots among the 10 competing teams, which can only line up no more than 14 players and two reserves.
“Ang dami talagang magagaling na players. Even sa collegiate league ngayon, ang daming players who will eventually move up to the PBA,” the top executive of the Manila North Tollways Corporation said.
NLEX is considered one of the hubs of top-caliber rookie draftees, having gone 9-out-of-9 in former players tabbed in last year’s draft led by first-round picks Calvin Abueva, Clifford Hodge, and Chris Ellis.
In the coming November 3 draft alone, the Road Warriors have five potential first-round prospects in Gregory Slaughter, Ian Sangalang, RR Garcia, Nico Salva, and Eric Camson.
“That’s one way of showing to everybody that this company and the MVP Sports Foundation are well into developing players and later on, allowing them to freely go wherever they want to go,” said Franco.
NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre stressed the team will continue to hone the skills of its players, majority of which will be loaned to the Sinag Pilipinas team for the coming Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
“Sa ngayon wala pa kaming advise mula sa itaas, pero basta’t may sinabi sila anytime ready kami,” said Dulatre, under whose term NLEX won four of the first five titles staked in the D-League’s first three years.