PBA chairman Ramon Segismundo has assured that the three expansion teams will be given equal opportunities to form competitive teams when the league’s board convenes to discuss concessions for the new ballclubs in its monthly meeting on Thursday.
Segismundo said the board is open to all possibilities to make sure expansion teams NLEX Road Warriors, Blackwater Sports and Columbia Autocar Corp. (Kia) won’t end up as “lemons” when they make debut in the pro league's 40th season this October.
“All possibilities are on the table when we review the player concessions for the expansion teams,” Segismundo told Spin.ph on Wednesday.
“But the principle is for the three expansion teams not to come in (next season) as weak teams. We know that it takes years to build champion teams but we don’t want the three teams to end up as lemons,” he added.
In the special board meeting on April 10, the PBA board welcomed the three new squads to the pro league but gave no special concession except for an expansion draft under a 'Protect 14' scheme for the 10 existing teams and the 11th, 12th, and 13th picks in the rookie draft.
However, Blackwater Sports team owner Dioceldo Sy said a 'Protect 10' scheme as well as allowing the three expansion teams to have five direct-hire players from the D-League would be appropriate to ensure the formation of competitive expansion teams.
“Para sa akin, siyempre 'Protect 10' ako saka bring five players up ang pinaka-maganda,” Sy said on the eve of the board meeting.
On Monday, Metro Pacific Investments wrote a letter to the PBA, formalizing its request for NLEX to be granted the privilege to bring up five direct-hire recruits and be given a wider pool of unprotected players to pick from when it forms an expansion team for next season.
Red Bull, the last expansion team to ojin the league in the 2000 season, was allowed to bring up six direct hires from its amateur team, namely Kerby Raymundo, Davonn Harp, Lordy Tugade, Jimwell Torion, Junthy Valenzuela and Bernard Tanpua.