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Willie Marcial reveals plan of turning PBA D-League regional

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial bared a shelved plan to turn the PBA D-League regional even as he takes a gradual approach to doing the same in the PBA. PBA Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—If ever the PBA looks to join the ranks of its fellow EASL members and become an inter-city league too, it might begin first in the developmental level.

Commissioner Willie Marcial revealed on Friday that there was a plan of turning the PBA D-League into a regional league.

Marcial told Sports on Air Weekly that they had initial talks with some teams a few years ago about the proposed D-League evolution.

"May kausap na kami sa Visayas, sa Mindanao, at sa Northern Luzon," Marcial said. "Dapat magsisimula na kami sa Laoag."

He rued, however, that the plan began to crumble when the Visayas leg was canceled.

"Economics ang problema nila," Marcial bared.

Eventually, the Northen Luzon leg was also called off, and the commissioner believes it was due to the local elections in the said city.

Thus, the D-League's regional route hit a dead end.

However, some clubs entered the league representing localities like the Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, Mindanao Aguilas, Batangas-EAC Generals, and BRT Sumisip Basilan-St. Clare with the latter two tying up with collegiate squads.

Meanwhile, Marcial clarified that the shelved D-League regionalization plan remains on the horizon especially with the challenge of the domestic regional leagues MPBL, NBL, Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup, and the upcoming Pilipinas Super League.

If the plan finally pushes through and the D-League going regional is a huge success, he said that he might turn the PBA into a regional league too, but the process might be a gradual one.

"Tignan natin. Gusto muna naming subukan sa D-League para tignan natin yung feel and feedback, tapos dahan-dahan nating i-adopt sa PBA," Marcial quipped.

Marcial's statement came amid a call from Former Deputy Commissioner Tommy Manotoc last November to turn the PBA into a regional league.

In an interview with Spin.PH's Dodo Catacutan, Manotoc, who led Crispa to the 1983 Grand Slam, said that Asia's premier play-for-pay cagefest needs to go inter-city too or else it might face a slow death with more options for Filipino players to play pro ball emerging like the B.League and the Australian NBL, both being regional in nature.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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