AS soon as PBA commissioner Chito Salud announced the approval of the application of three new teams, veteran slotman Don Allado said only one word came to mind.
"As soon as I heard about it, I thought about opportunity," said Allado, a former La Salle star who had a long and successful PBA career but has been unable to crash the main rotation of teams since emerging from a conference-long ban for falling foul of league rules.
That may well change with the entry of expansion teams Blackwater Sports, Columbia Autocar Corp. (Kia Motors) and Metro Pacific Investments (NLEX) bringing the pro league's membership to an all-time high 13 when it opens its 40th season late this year.
The long-overdue expansion means at least an extra 40 open spots for pros - a boon for players like Allado who either have trouble getting playing time with their present teams or have been unable to crash the lineups of the 10 existing teams in the past.
"This is not just for me. But it's all about new chances for other deserving players who lost spots in their respective teams," said Allado, who was left unsigned after playing for Meralco in the last Philippine Cup. "This is one great way for them to resuscitate their careers."
No wonder the 6-5 slotman has been working hard on his own, in the hope of rescuscitating his career by way of the three expansion teams.
"I am at the highest level of conditioning ever. I prepared myself for this hoping I can prove my self again, which unfortunately, I didn't get from my previous teams," said Allado.
Undoubtedly, a lot of players can expect to revive their careers next season, especially with the board giving little on no concessions at all to the three expansion teams in terms of draft picks or a dispersal draft.
With the league imposing only a 'protect 14' system in the expansion draft, veterans like Allado, Renren Ritualo, Rich Alvarez, Wesley Gonzales, Leo Avenido, and Roger Yap as well as youngsters like Junjun Cabatu, Reil Cervantes and Pamboy Raymundo may find themselves in demand in the offseason.
Yap, for one, said he is looking forward to his 'second coming' in the pro league.
"Natutuwa ako kasi may chance ako na makapaglaro ulit," said Yap, a 13-year veteran who won three titles with Purefoods (now San Mig). "Dati akala ko magkakasya na lang ako sa paghihintay. Atleast ngayon, mas lumaki tsansa ko na makapagpakita muli."
Yap has not been able to crash the regular lineup of Barako Bull this season, but now hopes to get more mileage with teams like Kia and NLEX.
He said he will keep his ears glued to his telephone for call-ups in the next few weeks.
"Tagal ko na ring naghihintay ng call-up. Pero ngayon at may mga bagong teams, mas tututukan ko ngayon telepono ko para sa mga magtatawag," said the veteran guard.
Yap has no doubt that with the abundance of talent available today, the three new teams can form competitive lineups in no time. He added there are a lot of exceptional players out there who only need a break to shine.
"Sa dami ng talent ngayon, tingin ko makakabuo ng competitive team yung mga bago. Tamang kumbinasyon lang 'yan. Andami nating players, kadalasan chance lang ang kulang," said Yap.
"It's about time that we allow new teams," said Allado. "More job opportunities, more excitement for the fans."