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PBA plans to go back to 3-conference format


The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is looking at reverting to its old, winning formula by next season. Deputy league commissioner Chito Salud said plans are afoot at enforcing anew the three-conference format when the PBA turns 36 next year, a proposal the Board is leaning to approve. The PBA used to play three conferences in a year since its inception in 1975, but decided to shorten the season beginning the 2004-05 playing calendar under the term of former commissioner Noli Eala.

Ever since we started the PBA, there are one All-Filipino (conference) and two shorter conferences with imports. What we intend to do is to apply a handicapping system in the Third Conference after looking at the performance of the teams during the first two conferences.
Chito Salud, PBA deputy commissioner
The plan was made to accommodate the all-pro national team in its preparation for international tournaments. “The Board is thinking about that and they are seriously considering it," said Salud, the man expected to succeed Sonny Barrios as PBA commissioner beginning next year. “There will be extra costs entailed, but it looks positive." Although there were already suggestions before to adopt anew the three-conference format, it is only now that the Board has seriously contemplated on the matter as means of significantly improving both the gate attendance and tv ratings of the league. If ever the PBA Governors approve it, Salud said there will definitely be an added twist in its adoption. “I think our fans and the Board prefer shorter conferences where there will be exciting eliminations and even more exciting playoffs," he pointed out. “Ever since we started the PBA, there are one All-Filipino (conference) -- traditionally the longest -- and two shorter conferences with imports," Salud said. “What we intend to do is to apply a handicapping system in the Third Conference after looking at the performance of the teams during the first two conferences." Under the format, the son of the former PBA commissioner Rudy Salud stressed that as much as possible, the league would try to avoid non-bearing games. But while the plan is aimed at making the league more profitable, Salud mentioned that the Board is likewise scrutinizing the effects of the new format as far as the financial feasibility of it is concerned. After all, three tournaments in a season entails the team to bring in not just one but two imports. And while the conferences may be shorter, there will definitely be more games to be played, which may translate to added expenses such as players’ bonuses. - RCJ, GMANews.TV
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