The more, the merrier.
Cage legend Ramon Fernandez offered the quip as he supports the emergence of various regional leagues over the past few years.
“The more, the merrier. The more, the better,” he told the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum webcast Tuesday.
The PBA has always been the ultimate dream of the Filipino baller, but the rise of other leagues has provided another platform for their aspirations.
Boxing great Sen. Manny Pacquiao founded the semi-pro Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League in 2017. It is now entering its third season.
There is also the National Basketball League, a homegrown-focused entity that made a big move by turning professional just last year.
Last but not least is the recently-launched Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, the first-ever pro league in the Southern region.
And their presence is something Fernandez, himself the founding commissioner of the Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA), very much welcomes.
“That’s very welcome news for us, for me especially,” said the 67-year-old, one of the commissioners of the Philippine Sports Commission.
Fernandez, though, advised these leagues to learn from the big leagues like the PBA and the NBA to ensure their continuity.
The MBA, despite its huge fan support and the many stars it produced, only lasted from 1998-2002.
“All they have to do is study and look at the NBA setup and the PBA setup,” he told the session powered by SMART and presented by San Miguel Corp., MILo, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and PAGCOR.
“Although they are entirely two different business models, they just have to look at that, ‘yung organization kung papaano na-set up para magpatuloy ‘yung mga liga nila.”
But really, having those leagues is of great influence especially for the youth, according to the four-time PBA Most Valuable Player.
“Every time I go out in the provinces, I always try to encourage the LGUs, the leaders of the LGUs, and even the youth to get themselves involved in sports. You can never go wrong when you’re involved in sports,” he said.
“Welcome ‘yan. The more leagues the better para busy ‘yung kabataan natin. They keep themselves healthy, away from drugs and other bad vices.”