Ravena and Oraeme banner PCBL imports in new conference
"They are not only big name players, but exciting players. That is what we want to bring in to the league." --- Commissioner Joel Banal on Kiefer Ravena and Allwell Oraeme.
The reigning collegiate Most Valuable Players are at the forefront in helping a young basketball league promote the sport to a wider range of hoops-crazed fans.
UAAP's Kiefer Ravena and the NCAA's Allwell Oraeme banner the local and foreign reinforcements that will make their debut in the Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League set to open its Chairman's Cup on Sunday March 6 at Malolos, Bulacan.
Ravena is suiting up for new team Mighty Sportst together with TY Tang and Perpetual's Bright Akhuetie while Mapua's Oraeme, who won rookie-MVP in the NCAA Season 91, will play for Jumbo Plastic.
New commissioner Joel Banal, a champion coach in the UAAP and the PBA, said that at this point in time, the PCBL is just trying to grow and make its mark with the Filipino audience.
The Chairman's Cup is only the league's second conference.
"The ultimate gauge is the growth of PCBL. If we can, every year, add one or two teams then we are on the right track. Ultimately its the growth of the league, the more teams the merrier," Banal told ABS-CBN Sports.
He added that the addition of high-caliber players in Ravena and Oraeme helps the league especially in the brand of play.
"They are not only big name players, but exciting players. That is what we want to bring in to the league," Banal said. "They play in a high level of basketball, that is what we want to show the crowd. If we can do that and if we can sustain it, the we will be good."
Despite being a young league, Banal is confident that the people will embrace the PCBL as it not only promotes the sports of basketball at a more grassroots level, the league plans to have a separate conference to showcase purely local talent, but also taking the game beyond the big city.
The PCBL will have two permanent homes so far, in Malolos and in Marikina.
"I feel that the gyms will be full especially in the north of Metro Manila. Before they can se a good brand of basketball they have to travel to Cubao so we are bringing the good basketball to them [people] at their own backyard," he said.
The PCBL will field six teams including Mighty Sports, Foton, Sta. Lucia, Supremo Lex, EuroMed and Founder's Cup champions Jumbo Plastic.
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