'Complementary league' to PBA, MPBL tipping off on August 25

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 09, 2018 07:32 PM
'Complementary league' to PBA, MPBL tipping off on August 25
NBL Philippines chairman Celso "Soy" Mercado with team owners and officials of the 12 members participating in the inaugural season

A new regional league has been formed to stand behind and provide support for both the PBA and the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League.

The National Basketball League will feature 12 teams ranging from Central Luzon to Bicol, all of which will be parading fully homegrown players.

The NBL aims to be another venue for lesser heralded players to be able showcase their skills on a national stage. “We are focused on grassroots development. It is our dream that our players will be noticed by professional and semi-professional leagues,” chairman Celso “Soy” Mercado said in the preseason press conference on Thursday in Mandaluyong.

As such, organizers are hoping that the league will be a “complementary league” for the PBA, Asia’s first pay-for-play league, as well as the MPBL, the country’s fastest-growing regional league.

The dozen squads making up NBL’s inaugural season are the Bataan Elite, Bulacan Makabayan, Camarines Sur Express, Dasmarinas Monarchs, Laguna Pistons, Marikina Shoemakers, Nueva Ecija Bespren, Pangasinan, Paranaque Aces, Quezon City Rising Stars, Rizal Spartans, and Taguig Generals.

All 12 teams will have 18 fully homegrown players and will host home games – giving their respective communities a chance to watch their very own players up close and personal.

Being fully homegrown is the greatest promise the league has – if commissioner Nandy Garcia is to be believed. “My life in basketball has gone full circle in now being the commissioner of the NBL. I’m looking forward to seeing new potential talents from our member teams,” the former pro said.

The NBL’s inaugural season is scheduled to tip-off on August 25 in either Paranaque or Taguig.

After the single round robin elimination round, the top two teams will automatically advance into the semifinals and the bottom two teams will be eliminated. The third to 10th ranked teams will then match up in the quarterfinals.

At the end of it all, the first-ever champion will be crowned and will set a date opposite the kings of the Vietnam Basketball Association.

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