OFFICIALS of the Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association (MMTLBA) have agreed in principle to push through with its 44th season after earlier deciding to suspend the Filipino-Chinese league.
Horacio Lim, chairman of the MMTLBA technical committee, confirmed to Spin.ph the league is set for a March 22 opening date after four member schools -- host Hope Christian High School, Xavier, Chiang Kai Shek, and St. Stephen -- agreed to hold a short 2014 season.
Lim, however, said the technical committee is still awaiting for heads of each member schools to give their nod on the beginning of the season. The former Mapua Cardinals head coach though, expressed confidence school officials will be allowing the league to push through this year.
“Positive naman ako na matutuloy ‘yan because no issues were brought up during the meeting,” said Lim.
Once official, the development saves the third longest running high school basketball tournament in Manila from being shelved for at least a season.
The league, which has become the breeding ground of both potential collegiate and PBA stars, initially called off its 2014 season primarily on issues of recruitment, a controversy that even threatened the very existence of Tiong Lian.
For one, Xavier had been adamant about pulling out of the tournament as the school couldn’t agree on two major issues -- the rules on the number of recruits and the age of recruitment.
But in the end, Lim said the league will resume its season for the sake of the kids and to preserve the rich heritage of Tiong Lian.
Lim added the members have agreed to resolve the issues on the number of recruits allowed and the age of recruitment to be granted.
“This is for the sake of the kids who are preparing very hard and, at the same time, to erase the issues regarding the Tiong Lian,” said Lim.
“Prestige din ng school ‘yan na may dine-develop tayo na player for college through their basketball without compromising their academics,” he added.
Among the prominent players who were products of the Tiong Lian league were Chris Tiu, brothers Jeric and Jeron Teng, TY Tang, Joseph Yeo, Justin Chua, and UAAP Season 76 Rookie of the Year Kyles Lao.