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All Systems Go for NBL PH Grassroots league

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Officers and members of the National Basketball League-Philippines put their hands together in preparation for its formal launching on Aug. 25 at the Hagonoy Sports Complex in C-6, Taguig City. Participating teams are the following: Bataan Elites, Bulacan Makabayan, Cam Sur Express, Dasmariñas Monarchs, Laguna Pistons, Marikina Shoemakers, Bespren Nueva Ecija, Laguna Pistons, Parañaque Aces, QC Rising Stars, Rizal Spartans, and Madmax Taguig Generals. (Roy Afable | MB)

Officers and members of the National Basketball League-Philippines put their hands together in preparation for its formal launching on Aug. 25 at the Hagonoy Sports Complex in C-6, Taguig City. Participating teams are the following: Bataan Elites, Bulacan Makabayan, Cam Sur Express, Dasmariñas Monarchs, Laguna Pistons, Marikina Shoemakers, Bespren Nueva Ecija, Laguna Pistons, Parañaque Aces, QC Rising Stars, Rizal Spartans, and Madmax Taguig Generals. (Roy Afable | MB)

By Brian Yalung

The National Basketball League (NBL) – Philippines is set to formally launch on August 25, 2018, at the Hagonoy Sports Complex in C6, Taguig City. Designed for amateur and 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 hoop dreams.

Twelve teams will comprise the maiden season, giving roughly 300 players a chance to showcase their basketball skills. The participating teams include 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.

“Siyempre, lahat ng mga players na taga-don, masarap ang pakiramadam sa bandang huli kasi lehitimo sila na taga doon,” he adds.

He also stressed that the NBL is a complementary league for commercial leagues as the PBA and MPBL with the mission of developing homegrown talents who can one day make the big leagues.

“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.

Apparently, the mettle of whichever team comes out as champion will be put to the test against international teams. Whoever comes out on top in the first season will face the Vietnam Basketball Association (VBA) champion squad. The same scenario awaits the overall winner for the second season, facing the champion of the Indonesian Basketball League (IBL). From there, things get a bit more interesting.

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

Being a new league, NBL Commissioner and former pro player Fernando “Nandy” Garcia is aware that league is far from perfect. It will encounter rough sailing, similar to most leagues that start off.

“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.

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