THE expansion of the PBA will not end with the entry of Kia Motors and Blackwater Sports.
PBA chairman Ramon Segismundo bared to Spin.ph that at least three more companies have signified through different channels their intention to join Asia's first play-for-pay league.
"Yes, may mga feelers from them, hindi lang ako ang kinakausap, may iba-iba silang nilalapitan (sa PBA)," said Segismundo as he wraps up an eventful season at the helm of the pro league.
Segismundo refused to divulge the identity of the three interested companies but multiple sources told Spin.ph that among the applicants is Lamoiyan Corporation, which was behind the success of ballclub Hapee Toothpaste in the amateur leagues.
Another prospective applicant is SM Malls, which Segismundo said has "expressed its intention one-and-a-half years ago."
"Napapag-usapan na namin sa board yung interest nga daw nila since early last year," said Segismundo of the SM group of companies, which fielded a team in the last PBA D-League's Aspirants cup that carried the BDO banner and fielded players from the Sy-owned National University's college team.
The third applicant, sources said, is an agricultural company behind former PBL team ANI (Agri-Nurture, Incorporated).
Meanwhile, a source from within the board bared that newcomer Kia Motors is so thrilled with its coming PBA participation that this early it is considering bringing in a sister team in the future.
Segismundo, however, bared that the board can only consider a company's interest in joining the league when a letter of intent is formally submitted to the PBA.
"Syempre, we can't tackle the application sa board if they don't submit a letter of intent, 'yun ang first step eh," said Segismundo.
The Meralco governor said any more applications can only be tackled next year since it is already too close to the coming 40th season, which is set to open on October 18.
"Kung mag-a-apply sila, baka di na umabot sa coming season. Next year na yun," he said.
And with his dream of PBA expansion achieved, Segismundo, who is set to hand over the chairmanship to Talk 'N Text governor Pato Gregorio, takes pride in the the growth the league has achieved this season.
"With the approval of the Air21 sale to NLEX by PBA board, there were many firsts: two expansion teams and one franchise transfer all in one year; a first dispersal draft in a long while and the number of teams now at 12," said Segismundo.
"A PBA franchise is a worthy investment with tangible and intangible returns. At least three more are knocking on our doors," he said. "I really do believe na tuloy-tuloy na ang pagyabong ng ating paborito at pinakamamahal na liga."