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    PBA eyes offseason pocket tournament to give fans first glimpse of three new teams

    May 28, 2014
    PBA chairman Ramon Segismundo says an offseason pocket tournament will sustain fans' interest in the league while Gilas Pilipinas competes in two major tournaments overseas. Jerome Ascano

    PHILIPPINE Basketball Association (PBA) chairman Ramon Segismundo said the league is considering putting up a pocket tournament shortly after this year’s Annual Rookie Draft to give cage fans a glimpse of what to expect from the three new expansion teams.

    The pocket tournament is just one of the topics to be discussed on Thursday when the league board convenes for its once-a-month meeting at the PBA office in Libis, Quezon City.

    “It is still on the drawing board but the commissioner (Chito Salud) and I are looking at possibly putting up a pocket tournament at puwedeng sumali dun 'yung mga expansion teams,” Segismundo told Spin.ph on Wednesday.

    More than a month ago, the board unanimously accepted Blackwater/Ever Bilena, owned by sportsman/businessman Dioceldo Sy, Columbia Autocar Corp., distributor of Kia vehicles in the country, and five-time D-League champion NLEX Road Warriors to become the new member ballclubs of Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league in time for its 40th season.

    Blackwater and Kia already paid the P100 million required franchise fee recently.

    NLEX has yet to comply with the payment, although the league has set a June 7 deadline for the team to complete the requirement.

    Segismundo, who also serves as Meralco’s board of governor, explained the offseason in July and August are just perfect to keep fan interest alive while Gilas Pilipinas is busy with its preparations for the Fiba-World Cup in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.

    “The PBA wants to make the offseason more meaningful and productive kaya kami nag-iisip ng offseason activities,” said Segismundo.

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    “Definitely, it’s going to be an exciting off season and that (pocket tournament) may also involve some games outside Metro Manila.”

    The pocket tournament could well serve as the first ever public appearance in a PBA-sanctioned competition of boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao as the eight-time world boxing champion has recently accepted the playing-coach role for Kia Motors.

    Pacquiao, who is coming off a unanimous 12-round decision of Tim Bradley to capture the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title last April, personally presided over the two-day tryout of Kia held at the Sta. Lucia gym in Cainta, Rizal last Monday.

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    PBA chairman Ramon Segismundo says an offseason pocket tournament will sustain fans' interest in the league while Gilas Pilipinas competes in two major tournaments overseas. Jerome Ascano
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