21 October 2015

It’s Either a Small Bang or a Big Bust

PBA Opening
After typhoon Lando postponed the grand opening of the PBA’s 41st season last 18 October, basketball fans should expect all roads today leading to the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena for a glitzy inaugural program featuring a dazzling array of muses in the traditional parade of teams.

Only one game is scheduled but it's a humdinger as title-hungry Rain Or Shine battles the Star Hotshots with coach Jason Webb making his debut.

Several marketing schemes were employed, including publicly announcing that all proceeds in today’s event will go to the victims of the typhoon. The announcement conveniently ignored the option of collecting directly from the companies participating in the PBA to allocate a portion of their annual earning to the noble cause. Instead, the PBA is appealing to the fans’ conscience and emotion in order to selfishly attract more attendees to the event.

In another marketing move, the PBA is transforming its previous team-oriented slogan "Kampihan Na" to a supposedly more fan-connective "Liga Ng Mga Bida" to showcase the superstars as the ultimate crowd drawers. Again, the PBA failed to acknowledge that the 'bida' appeal was supposed to apply only to those who participated in the last FIBA Asia Qualifying tournament and not on players who gave out various excuses to please their mother teams and avoid serving the call of duty for the national squad. Maybe the more appropriate slogan is, "Liga ng Mga Lumaban Para sa Bayan."

As for the game itself, new PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa appear to be determined to revive the beauty of basketball in all its glory. He’s declared war on tactics and tricks that destroy the flow of a well-played contest and reportedly instructed the referees not to tolerate excessive physicality bordering on mixed martial arts.

However, Commissioner Narvasa was silent on the proliferation of lopsided trades and the imbalance resulting from it. Another issue that was not highlighted is the alleged or should we say obvious presence of the so-called ‘farm’ teams.

If Commissioner Narvasa really believes that there is parity in the PBA right now, will he be willing to put his money on a bet that says Barako Bull, Mahindra Enforcers and Blackwater Elite will reach the quarterfinals of the Philippine Cup?

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