It’s been barely over a month since PBA Season 47 ended and yet the buildup for Season 48 is underway.
The PBA On Tour has been going on since last week, with the leagues’ 12 teams going to parts of Metro Manila and beyond in an effort to fill the lull from the PBA’s longest offseason. For the squads themselves, it allows them to reintegrate their systems while also allowing them to take a long look at some of their players and free agents. Moreover this preseason of sorts allows the PBA to see how some of their rule changes, among which includes the coach’s challenge, will turn out.
Fans are, of course, in for a treat as more basketball is always good news. There isn’t any championship on the line, but more games also provide opportunities for players to get used to their team’s scheme of things and that being said, it’s a win-win for pretty much everyone.
But the PBA On Tour isn’t the only development for the league over the last few days, as the league’s Board of Governors recently had their planning session in Paris to discuss matters concerning PBA Season 48.
Much of what the Board discussed was the adjustments the PBA would make due to the Philippines’ participation in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2023 Asian Games, among other events. Season 48 will begin on October 15, with the Commissioner’s Cup kicking things off and the Philippine Cup then becoming the season-ending conference. It’s a departure from recent tradition where the All-Filipino Conference opens the season. The swap, however, comes in order to accommodate the participation of the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup champion TNT Tropang Giga and the runner-up Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in the East Asia Super League (EASL), which will pursue a home-and-away format.
Having the Commissioner’s Cup coincide with the EASL does allow the PBA to once again welcome the Bay Area Dragons, who had quite the finals series with the Gin Kings.
A two-import limit would have been a great format for the Commissioner’s Cup given how the EASL implements such a rule, but that might be too much to ask given how it would only benefit the Tropang Giga and Ginebra and possibly raise opposition from local players, who would cry about the loss of roster spots for them.
As it is, the changes are interesting, but the hope is that they’re just the beginning.
Personally, the Commissioner’s Cup is the most competitive one among the PBA’s three conferences given the relaxed import height limits. The Philippine Cup deserves some love because of its historic tradition, but unfortunately, it’s not anymore a complete reflection of the current state of basketball. Like it or not, imports are here to stay and with the way TNT and the San Miguel Beermen were beaten to a pulp in the EASL Champions Week, Philippine basketball needs to make adjustments.
With that, I do hope this year’s Commissioner’s Cup is a resounding success. It deserves to be a longer tournament, perhaps a double or even triple round-robin format. The Philippine Cup can then take on an FA Cup or Copa del Rey format, where it’ll happen in season and to spice things up, the PBA On Tour could then be integrated by having some games from the Commissioner’s Cup, All-Filipino Cup, or even both in venues outside of the league’s usual arenas.
There will naturally be those that will ask what of the Governors’ Cup? Well its exclusion for this year means something and the PBA can enhance its two conferences to make up for whatever is lost when there’s no Governors’ Cup.
Credit must be given to the PBA for making these changes, which might have been long overdue. Adjusting to international competitions and staying at par with the standards of some professional leagues is a great thing, especially if it will bring out a better game. The league needs to evolve if it wants to stay relevant not just to the players, but also to the fans.
PBA Season 48 may be around five months away, but the league has already been making preparations for what they hope will be an exciting season. The changes they’ve made look promising and if things work out, one has to hope that it would inspire the Board of Governors to make further changes for the better.