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New basketball league unfurls on Aug. 25

By Brian Yalung

Everything is set for the staging of the National Basketball League (NBL) Philippines on Aug. 25 at the Hagonoy Sports Complex in C6, Taguig City.

Designed for homegrown players aged 18 to 29 years old, the league offers local talent the chance to show off their skills and help them attain their dreams.

Twelve teams will make up the maiden season, giving roughly 300 players a chance to showcase their basketball skills.

They are the Bataan Elites, Bulacan Makabayan, Cam Sur Express, Dasmarinas Monarchs, Laguna Pistons, Marikina Shoemakers, Bespren Nueva Ecija, Laguna Pistons, Paranaque Aces, QC Rising Stars, Rizal Spartans and the Madmax Taguig Generals.

Each team will be composed of 25 players where 18 will be allowed to play per game. All players will undergo eligibility screening to make sure that they are authentically from the region they are representing.

“We will be very strict in the checking of players. Baka may mga certain requirements na kelangan ipakita para patunayan na taga doon talaga sila,” said NBL Chairman Celso “Soy” Mercado.

NBL, he said, is not going to compete against established leagues like PBA and D-League or even the fledging MPBL.

“We will not be competing with any league here sa Pinas. Pero, we will be competing with NBL leagues from other countries,” explains commissioner Mercado.

The champion of the event will face the winner in the Vietnam Basketball Association tournament.

The same scenario awaits the overall winner for the second season, facing the champion of the Indonesian Basketball League (IBL).

“On our third season will start playing against out international counterpart, NBL Australia, China, and Canada,” said Rhose Montreal, VP for Marketing of the NBL.

“Since bago pa lang tong liga, I’m expecting some bumps along the way. Pero it’s part of the process. No league is perfect,” said NBL commissioner Nandy Garcia.

Aside from the tournament proper, NBL is also in the planning stage of organizing a women’s commercial league and a youth league to be held in the coming months.