One team was all Nolan Bernardino, son of the late former Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Jun Bernardino, needed to get the new season of the Philippine Basketball League (PBL) going.
In just one day, the incoming commissioner of the PBL lost three of the five teams form his list, so that the plan for a new season was immediately scrapped.
The three teams — Agri-Nature Inc./FCA, Pharex and Cobra Energy Drink — have decided to jump ship and move over to the new league formed by the PBA, the Developmental League. Their sudden decision to transfer caught the younger Bernardino by surprise.
“If reports are true that they are indeed going to the D-League, we will take a back seat,” Bernadino told GMA News in a telephone interview. “I was surprised with the development. I really had no idea that they will be moving to the D-League. In fact, I was trying to get in touch with the team representatives to find out about our next meeting.”
Bernardino, along with PBL chairman Ding Camua of Pharex and Pharex team manager Gene Alabanza, attended the PSA Forum Tuesday where they announced the opening of the PBL on March 12 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
The decision of the three squads to participate in the D-League left Bernardino no choice but to abort the plan of his group, Sports Vision, to help out in the operations and marketing of the PBL.
“From the start, our stand in Sports Vision was for us to come up with six teams, then we will push through with the league. We already have five, and we announced it on PSA Forum that we’re only looking for one more, and it’s a go. All of a sudden, we’re back to scratch. I don’t think it’s feasible anymore to continue with the plan,” added Bernardino.
Cobra, Pharex, FCI-ANI, Excelroof and Café France had earlier confirmed participation in the PBL. Instead, only Excelroof didn’t join the bandwagon of moving to the new league, which is under the supervision of the PBA’s Commissioner’s Office.
Chongson: Transferring to D-League is the best move
“This is the best basketball move for us.”
This was the statement of Cobra Energy Drink coach Lawrence Chongson regarding the team’s decision to move from the PBL to the D-League.
The long-haired former University of the East mentor admitted that they were determined to stay in the PBL, but the difficulty of finding a sixth member squad prompted them to go to the new league. Pharex and FCI-Ani joined them afterwards.
“We did our best, but the PBL is really having a hard time. It’s hard to have a five-team league. It will be unfair to the fans and to the sponsors if we don’t have the quality of games that they want,” Chongson explained.
“It was nobody’s fault. It is really stressful on our part. We also have an obligation to our team owners on what is best for us. All we want is to play basketball.”
Café France, a team brought in by former Hapee team manager Bernard Yang, was supposed to participate in the PBL as well. Instead, the squad also made a quick turn and joined D-League.
Chongson and Yang commended Bernardino for his efforts in trying to save the PBL.
“It was a noble move for them. They did their job. I told Nolan that he’s still young and they still have Sports Vision. I wish them all the best,” Chongson said.
“Nahihiya rin kami kay Nolan, pero andun na yung iba sa D-League eh, so sumunod na rin kami because ang gusto lang naman namin is may malaruan, eh,” said Yang. – KY, Reuben Terrado, RCJ