IT'S a change that Willie Marcial feels is for the better of the PBA.
Without Ginebra in a Governors' Cup Finals for the first time in three years, the PBA commissioner believes it underlines the balance of competition that the league has been striving for.
"Nakikita natin ang parity na," Marcial told SPIN.ph. "Wala ng San Miguel, Ginebra, Talk 'N Text, so nagiging maganda na, parehas na 'yung teams natin sa labanan. Malaking bagay."
Alaska and Magnolia are the last two teams standing in this edition of the season-ending tournament, eliminating back-to-back finalists Ginebra and Meralco along the way.
And as the Aces and Hotshots started their best-of-seven showdown on Wednesday night at MOA Arena, Marcial can't think of two better teams to be in this position.
"Makikita mo naman na worthy yung parehang team," the longtime PBA official said.
"Alam mo naman yung mga fans, syempre gusto nila yung mga paborito nilang teams," he was quick to add. "Pero sa akin, okay 'to, mas maganda 'to na naiba kasi makikita mo na maganda na yung PBA ngayon."
Marcial doesn't mind seeing a dip in attendance compared to last edition's finals, highlighted by Game Seven that drew a league record of over 54,000 fans who trooped the Philippine Arena in Bulacan to witness the Gin Kings’ complete their back-to-back title bid.
"Pwede mag suffer (ang attendance) pero nakikita mo naman na sila yung karapat-dapat - itong dalawang team na 'to so wala akong problema," Marcial said.
"Konti ang manonood o madami ang manonood, maganda 'tong series na 'to," he concluded.
But if Game One was any indication, then these finals are also expected to be a big hit after a sizeable crowd showed up at the Mall of Asia Arena.