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PBA: One Asian reinforcement per team in 3rd conference?

SEOUL, South Korea – Imagine expansion team Kia Cars reinforced by Korean sharpshooter Cho Sung Min, or Barangay Ginebra San Miguel tapping another scorer in Taiwan’s Lin Chih-Chieh, or maybe Talk ’N Text signing Iran’s veteran playmaker Mehdi Kamrani.

These are possible scenarios as the PBA Board of Governors is open to the idea of hiring one player for each team from neighboring Asian nations in the third and last conference – the Governors’ Cup.

PBA chairman Patrick Gregorio of Talk ’N Text made the proposal in the ongoing board meeting at the Novotel Gangnam here, although a decision will come in the next board meeting in Manila.
“This is still tentative,” said PBA commissioner Chito Salud.

“Because these parameters, meaning the height, salary cap, will still have to be cleared with the principals of our governors. So that’s still for finalization but the parameters are there,” added Salud.

The initial guideline in hiring an Asian player is height limit at 6-foot-4, and that it will be on top of the regular imports that will be hired by teams in the Governors’ Cup.

Part of the initial guideline is also the ‘no hiring’ of naturalized players from different Asian nations, and that getting one Asian player is an option as well for the 12 teams after some board members raised the possibility of problems with playing time with the local players.

Other players that may be considered by PBA teams as Asian ‘reinforcement’ are Hamed Afagh of Iran, Jordan’s Osama Daghlas and Wesam Al-Sous, Mahmoud Ali of Lebanon and Yang Chin Min of Taiwan.

Gregorio said the purpose of getting one Asian player is for marketing strategy, since this is a good opportunity for the PBA to expand its reach in Asia in time for the celebration of the league’s 40th anniversary.

“We really just want to showcase the league not only in the Philippines but also in Asia as we celebrate our 40th Season and hopefully what happens is you have now the big sponsor and advertisers supporting the PBA,” said Gregorio.

“So that is also the excitement of Kia if and when it decides to get a Korean player. Imagine the one million Koreans in the Philippines, and hopefully that attracts now the other sponsors like Samsung or LG to sponsor the PBA.”