WHILE he commiserates with the number of players left without a team heading into the 42nd season of the PBA, board chairman Mikee Romero ruled out accepting expansion franchises until outright parity is achieved in the pro league.
The party-list congressman who is also owner of the Globalport team said the league is looking to see its previous expansion franchises settle down under the current 12-team set-up before it considers opening the door for more teams.
Blackwater and Mahindra were the last two expansion franchises allowed entry to the league in 2014. Both have yet to achieve winning seasons in their two-year campaign, although the Floodbusters managed to finally crack the playoffs during the season-ending Governors Cup.
With both expansion teams yet to be fully competitive, Romero said the board has put expansion on hold.
“So any expansion won’t be this 42nd season. I don’t know by next year or the following season,” he said. “Pero kailangan munang ma-perfect ng PBA yung 12 teams. Pag perfect na, tsaka na tayo mag-expand.”
Calls for expansion grew after numerous players were displaced during the offseason, among them young Juami Tiongson (just 25 and a first round pick in the 2014 Draft) and several still good and reliable veterans like Gary David and Mac Cardona.
Romero understands the sad plight of these players, but pointed out the league can only do so much.
The congressman said the PBA has done everything to accommodate as many players as possible, even pointing out the recent move to allow each team to have a 15-man active roster.
But at the same time, Romero said the league can’t also compromise the balance of competition among teams, which as he pointed earlier, is still far from ideal.
“I feel for these players, but you can’t have all of them in the league. At tsaka ang mga teams, may kanya-kanyang diskarte rin yan in terms of having players which they believe fit their systems,” he said.
The league chairman admitted there is a high turnover of talent every season that players need to be always on his toes just to stay around, superstars included.
“Grabe naman din talaga ang dating ng mga players every season,” Romero added.
The Globalport big boss said the presence of the D-League, the Asean Basketball League (ABL), and other minor tournaments both the country and the region gives the players a viable alternative to consider.