The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) has its sights set on expansion.
Chairman Ricky Vargas disclosed that the Board of Governors has agreed during its two-day planning session in Boracay over the weekend to grow the number of the league’s ball clubs to 14 after receiving interest from entities.
The TNT Tropang Giga governor neither revealed names nor dropped hints of who those parties are, although he said that there’s one who is ‘strongly interested’ to become part of Asia’s pioneering pro league.
“Ang board, when it was reported to us that there are some interested new teams, new owners coming in to join the PBA, we said, ‘Why don’t we start at expanding to 14,’” Vargas said during Wednesday’s virtual presser.
“The board, we agreed that we should be on the lookout and look to expand to 14. There’s interest. There’s one team that’s strongly interested. If we do that, we would like to expand to 14,” the long-time sportsman added.
It is undeniably a major development, given that the Board, not so long ago, wasn’t really keen on adding teams by citing a litany of reasons, one of which is prolonging the season as it aims to give each team the exposure it needs.
The last time that the PBA expanded was in 2014, when it welcomed both KIA — now known as Terrafirma — and Blackwater. NLEX was initially approved as an expansion, but the MVP Group decided to buy the Air21 franchise instead.
Currently, 12 teams are members of the league, with Converge ICT Solutions the newest in the field. It bought the Alaska team last March, shortly after the Uytengsu-owned club announced its retirement after 36 years.
Aside from expansion, the PBA also looks to build its own office.
The league has never had its own place since 1975. And for the past decade or so, it is renting an office space in Libis, Quezon City. Thus, the desire of Vargas and the governors for the league to have one it could call home.
“It is our dream to have our own place, the house of the PBA. So, when we reviewed the numbers, we [saw that we] pay a lot of money for rentals where we are now, and we will never get to own it,” said Vargas. “So we’re looking at lease-to-own for the PBA office.
“I think that’s highly possible now moving forward.”