AFTER Leo Austria led the San Miguel Beermen (SMB) to win its first-ever title last year, the Philippines saw the last of a Filipino squad vying in the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) Basketball League (ABL).
Philippine squads pulled out of the competition – the Mikee Romero owned (owner of GlobalPort Batang Pier in the PBA) Philippine Patriots in 2012, who won two titles and the SMB this year. Now, ABL was scampering to find another Philippine team to complete a six-team rooster.
The two teams were based in Manila and its audience was lesser than the PBA and the collegiate basketball tournaments.
Former Cebu Gems manager Glenn Yusingco said for ABL to grow bigger, they need a team that would be based outside of Manila where the basketball fans are as crazy as those in Manila. They could find them in Cebu, Bacolod or in the Mindanao cities.
Cebu is expected to field a team especially since it will have a state-of-the-art sports arena at the SM Seaside City in 2015.
The arena could be the homecourt of a Philipine Team.
ABL is similar to the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA), but with international flavor. It parades players from each participating countries with imports.
“It would be a great chance for ABL to grow bigger if they will have a team based in Cebu. We have international flights going in and out Cebu going to the countries where they have ABL teams – like Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. And, wait for another year and we will have a good facility and we have competent people running the team and the games,” said Yusingco.
He added that while waiting for the SM Seaside City Arena to finish, Cebu can offer Cebu Coliseum or the Lapu-Lapu City Hoops Dome as venue.