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Korean officials, PBA in key talks

Barangay Ginebra's Greg Slaughter scores against LG Sakers Christopher Massie and Byeong Hun Yoo during exhibition game between the twp ballclubs at Smart Araneta Coliseum. LG Sakers won 81-76. Photo by Tony Pionilla

SEOUL, South Korea – Top officials of the PBA are scheduled to meet their counterparts from the Korean Basketball League (KBL) in the hopes of solidifying the relationship of the two professional leagues and opening the possibility of exchanging programs.

Talk ’N Text’s Patrick Gregorio, the newly-elected PBA chairman, said Monday that strengthening the relationship of the two leagues is the right thing to do as it will open different options.

“We’re reaching out with our Asian counterparts,” Gregorio said prior to the league’s board meeting Monday. “We want to find out about their league, about their plans, about their format and see if we can align (it with the PBA).”

“Who knows? Maybe we can play a few games together,” added Gregorio, who will preside over the board meeting.

PBA commissioner Chito Salud requested the meeting with his KBL counterpart Young Ki. Gregorio, PBA operations chief and media bureau director Willie Marcial will accompany Salud to the meeting Thursday.

Last month, the Changwon LG Sakers – one of the 10 teams in the KBL – played tuneup games against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and PBA expansion ballclub Kia Motors.

This week, PBA Grand Slam champion San Mig Super Coffee opened a five-game exhibition series against KBL teams here. Globalport will also play five matches with KBL and collegiate teams.

“I think this is an offshoot to the LG Sakers guesting in Manila,” said Gregorio. “If you noticed, they were so aggressive (promoting the event). I think I saw three or four of their Ads promoting the relationship.”

“We want to push that, we want to develop that. I think it’s the right thing to do. It’s aligned to what we want to happen, that slowly but surely, one step at a time, maybe we can invite them to also play in the PBA as guest teams, as guest players, as Asian reinforcements,” added Gregorio.

Other board members here are vicechairman Robert Non of San Miguel Beer, Globalport’s Erick Arejola, Rain or Shine’s Mamerto Mondragon, Alaska’s Dickie Bachmann, San Mig’s Rene Pardo, Ginebra’s Alfrancis Chua, Meralco’s Al Panlilio, Ramon Fernandez of new team North Luzon Expressway, Manny Alvarez of Barako Bull, and Ginia Domingo and Dioceldo Sy of expansion teams Kia and Blackwater.