THE PBA board of governors on Thursday unanimously approved the applications of three companies for expansion franchises, raising to an all-time high 13 the number of teams in the league next season.
After a marathon four-hour meeting at the league office in Libis, Quezon City, the PBA board gave the green light to Blackwater Sports/ Ever Bilena, NLEX of the Manny V. Pangilinan group and Columbia Autocar Corporation to form their pro teams in time for the league's 40th season.
They Said It!
“Three applied, three were recommended for approval and now, three were approved." PBA commissioner Chito Salud
“Three applied, three were recommended for approval and now, three were approved,” PBA commissioner Chito Salud proudly announced after emerging from the special meeting.
“That’s a first, it’s a momentous occasion for the PBA. Three expansion teams coming in all at the same time, in time for our 40th season. nothing can be more exciting than that,” he added.
The entry of three expansion teams is also the highest since Pepsi and Sarsi were welcomed in 1990.
Salud said all three new league members have been informally and verbally notified of the board’s decision. A formal acceptance letter will be sent to them shortly.
“They (three new members) have been informally and verbally notified on their acceptance. They’ll be sent their formal acceptance of membership within the week and we will expect their formal reply in the soonest possible time,” explained the league’s commissioner.
No special concession was given to any of the three new member squads, except that the existing 10-member PBA squads will be allowed to protect only 14 players from their rosters.
“The (current PBA) teams have 14 players in their roster and then they have two extra players that are called the restricted free agents. So the teams have decided to let go of the two players in excess of their team, which will make up around 25 players,” explained Salud.
Salud also mentioned that they’ll be gathering around 40 more players from free agent ranks, which would give each of the three new member clubs a pool of around 65 players to choose from in an expansion draft to be staged in the middle of July - or just less than two weeks after the end of the 39th season.