What Does The PBA Have In Store For Next Season?

If everything goes according to plan, the PBA will be launching several innovations and unique activities for its 2024-2025 season.

As the 2023-24 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) season winds down, the league is already looking forward to its next season, which incidentally will coincide with its 50th founding anniversary.

On Wednesday, just before the start of Game 1 of the Philippine Cup Finals between the San Miguel Beermen and Meralco Bolts, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial revealed the main points discussed during Tuesday’s Board of Governors meeting.

Here’s a summary of what the PBA has planned for the 2024-2025 season.

Back to three conferences

After forcing to cut short two seasons due to the pandemic and giving way to Gilas Pilipinas and the FIBA World Cup, the league is finally back to its three-conference format. Only this time, instead of leading off with the Philippine Cup, the season will start with the Governors’ Cup. This will be followed by Commissioner’s Cup, and finally, the Philippine Cup.

The reason for doing this, Marcial said, is to have the 50th anniversary date, April 9, fall during the Philippine Cup.

There will also be some changes to the Governors’ Cup and Commissioner’s Cup, including the possibility of a guest team joining the latter conference.

May proposal din, baka mag two imports (for the Commissioner’s Cup),” Marcial said during a hastily-arranged press conference. “Baka lang kasi depende pag sumali nga ang guest team, baka mag two imports tayo.”

If this pushes through, according to PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III it will be the first time since the 2002 season that teams will be parading two imports. Marcial added that teams will be allowed to recruit at least one import of unlimited height.

Meanwhile, the Governors’ Cup will still have each team parade an import no taller than 6’6’. However, there will be a change to the conference format.

Sa Governor’s Cup, two groups. Pinakita na namin sa Board ang mangyayari ng dalawang beses makakalaban ang kagrupo mo. Tapos crossover ang quarterfinals. Ang kagandahan noon, quarterfinals best of 5, semifinals best of 7, finals best of 7.”

The other two conferences will follow the standard format.

Ang dalawang conferences ay single round pero nagpapalit-palit tayo kung twice-to-beat o maglalaban yung apat,” Marcial said. “Ganun pa rin ang Philippine Cup at Commissioners Cup.”

Marcial was mum on the identity of the possible guest team.

May kausap na rin kami. Baka may guest team tayo sa second conference. Tingnan natin, nag-uusap pa.Ang pinag-uusapan namin, schedules, logistics, players. Wala pang kongkreto na usapan pero tinitingnan natin kung magkakaroon tayo ng guest team.”

The PBA 2024-2025 is set to kick off in mid-August.

Foreign competition

The PBA will be once again be joining the East Asia Super League (EASL), although the mechanics still aren’t clear with regard to which conference champions and runners-up will earn slots.

Marcial revealed he will meet again soon with new EASL president Henry Kerrins about the PBA’s participation.

Mag-uusap kami by next week kung paano na sasali ang PBA sa EASL. Pag-uusapan lang namin kung paano, kailan, paano schedules, anong teams.”

After begging off this year, the league will finally participate in the Basketball Champions League Asia, formerly known as the FIBA Asia Champions Cup, which brings together the champions of Asia’s many professional leagues.

And of course, the PBA will remain committed to Gilas Pilipinas, specifically for the FIBA Asia Cup qualifying windows. What hasn’t been discussed, though, is the league’s participation, if any, in the Bangkok Southeast Asian Games.

“Southeast Asian Games, wala pa pinag-uusapan,” Marcial said. “Pero as of now ang (FIBA Asia Cup) window pinag-usapan namin, sinosupportahan namin, pinag-uusapan din namin ang (BCL). Pero nakasalang na tayo ngayon. So diretso, pero tingnan natin for next year. Mag-uusap kami ng SBP kung paano na ang (BCL).

“Tingnan lang natin ngayon kasi anniversary natin tapos tingnan natin kasi para din sa EASL. Alam ko EASL kailangan two imports tayo doon.”

50 golden years

As mentioned earlier, the biggest red-letter day for the PBA in 2025 will be April 9, the 50th anniversary of the league’s founding. Marcial said plans for the grand celebration will get underway once the Philippine Cup is over.

May sinabi na ako sa kanila (Board) kasi after ng finals maganda drum up papunta sa opening natin ng August.

“May pinag-usapan na kami kung ano ang mga simple na gagawin kasi baka i-pitch namin sa event organizer yung April 9 anniversary natin pero tatapat sa 49th season. Pero yung 50th anniversary dire-diretso yun. Dire-diretso yun ang madaming nating pakulo.

Kasi parang new-look ang gustong gawin ng Board para sa Year 50 natin. May pinag-usapan pa nga tungkol sa coliseum pero pinag-usapan pa lang yan.”

As for the 50 Greatest, Marcial said the selection committee will be revealed around two months before the anniversary.

Magdadagdag tayo ng 10 para maging 50 greatest kasama sa 50th anniversary natin.”

Banner Image from PBA Media Bureau.

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