BARELY three months into his PBA chairmanship, Meralco board representative Ramon Segismundo disclosed his aggressive push for league expansion before his term ends.
Segismundo told Spin.ph that allowing at least two more teams to come in as member ballclubs is one thing he wants to leave as the legacy of his chairmanship, a position that annually rotates among team governors.
“It’s part of my eight-point plan, and I think it’s about time that we welcome new teams. We have a surplus of players, plus the league is enjoying its popularity now,” said Segismundo.
They Said It!
“ I think it’s about time that we welcome new teams. We have a surplus of players, plus the league is enjoying its popularity now." - PBA chairman Ramon Segismundo
“It’s a legacy I want to attain in my term.”
The Meralco senior vice president for human resources and corporate services also revealed how he and league commissioner Chito Salud have been talking to prospective team owners who are interested in joining Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league.
“Yes, may mga kinakausap kami. We really want to tell them that investing in the PBA is a very good idea,” he said.
The amiable team official said one compelling argument for expansion is the growing number of competent and capable players who are left without a job at the start of every season.
“Taon-taon maraming players ang nawawala. Pero if you look at them, pwedeng-pwede pa sila. So kung madadagdagan tayo, makakatulong rin tayo sa livelihood ng maraming pamilya,” he added.
Aggressively pursuing his dream, Segismundo expressed optimism that new teams will come in, if not this season, perhaps in the next few years.
“This cannot happen overnight. But what is important is we already set the foundation and that we let everyone know the PBA is open to new teams, that having a PBA team is a great investment, and that the league will be viable and successful for many years to come,” he said.
A source, meanwhile, told Spin.ph that Segismundo has been in constant talks with his boss, businessman/sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan, regarding the possible PBA entry of multi-titled NLEX, which currently sees action in the D-League.
“I’ve told MVP that expansion is a PBA priority. Commissioner Salud and I have been working hard to talk not only to people who already own teams,” he said.
“We are also talking to companies, who have recently joined the D-League,” Segismundo said without mentioning such big companies like the SM Group, which owns the BDO-NU Bulldogs team.
NLEX president Rodrigo Franco, for his part, reiterated to Spin.ph his earlier pronouncement that the Road Warriors are always ready to move up to the pro league.
“Andito lang naman kami. We have been making sure that this team is ready if in case it is already told to move to the PBA. Kami naman susunod lang sa gusto ni boss MVP,” said Franco, who earlier declared they are just waiting for the blessings of the country’s top basketball patron.
For close to four decades, the league has been the top marketing tool used by different companies to advertise and promote their products and services.
Brand names that are usually carried by the teams mostly ended up as No. 1 in the market as in the case of Rain or Shine paints.
Rain or Shine team owner Raymund Yu, in a recent interview, admitted the PBA has been a great marketing tool for the company’s product.
“Pag sa PBA kasi, nag-e-enjoy na kami (sa pag cheer sa team), may exposure pa,” said the youthful businessman.
"Saka ito parang hindi namin pansin na nag-a-advertise kami. Iba `yung pakiramdam dahil kahit papano may fanbase na rin kami,” added the business partner of co-owner Terry Que.