WITH the PBA coming off a banner season, Commissioner Chito Salud is fully convinced this is the perfect time to finally open the league's doors for expansion teams once again.
The league chief admitted he’s been talking with "serious prospects" which have shown interest in joining Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league.
“Ang daming nagtatanong sa akin niyan (PBA membership). A lot of preliminary inquiries, like, ‘How much is it (franchise fee)? How do I build my team? How do I create my lineup, and then no more follow-up,” Salud said during Wednesday’s press conference for the 39th season season of the league set to kick off on Sunday simultaneously in Manila, Davao, and Cebu.
“But there are a couple (of prospective companies inquiring) and I will not tell you which corporations, but which I consider as serious prospects, unlike before na puro tanong lang,” he added.
“Ito on the second level na.”
The PBA is fresh from a successful 38th season under the chairmanship of Ginebra’s Robert Non that saw the league establish a new record of P200 million in gross receipts, capped by the crowds of more than 23,000 that watched the Game Three semifinals doubleheader of the Commissioners Cup pitting Ginebra against Talk `N Text, and Alaska against San Mig Coffee.
“The PBA has not seen these times and for all partners out there, this is the best time to join the PBA, which has enjoyed a resurgence of some sort over the last three years,” beamed the lawyer-turned-commissioner.
The commissioner said he isn’t limiting the possible additional franchises to just two teams considering the abundance of local talent today.
Proof of it is the record-smashing 79 rookie applicants that joined the recent Annual Draft led by top overall pick Greg Slaughter.