For P50-million, are you willing to put up a team in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League?
The price may sound stiff, but for the provinces of Bicol and Iloilo and the city Mabalacat in Pampanga, the amount seems logical as far as getting noticed is concerned, something that would boost their tourism and the prestige of having their own basketball team in the fastest growing regional amateur basketball league.
Fifty million pesos doesn’t look like a problem though for sponsors willing to shell out a pie for marketing expenses as the MPBL is one of the most competitive shows as far as late night prime time viewing is concerned.
It is one of the most followed sports shows on late night, it could even surpassed a late night news show in terms of TV viewing.
To the teams which invested at a P500,000 franchise and become a founding member in the MPBL, it looks like their gamble is all worth it. Their team is now worth a hundred times bigger.
But let’s look beyond the monetary. Let’s set aside the investment. Let’s talk about the prestige of owning an MPBL team.
Having a basketball team gives the entire province of Bicol some sense of pride, something which it has never done before.
To be known as the Albay, Volcanoes, the Bicolanos are definitely looking forward to a more explosive performance from the team carrying the entire province on their chests. They are bound to put up a very competitive team and political leaders there had thrown in their full support they’re willing to provide the team two home venues each time the game will be held here.
The Ibalong Centrum for Recreation and Albay Astrodome in Legazpi City will be used as venues for the home games of the Volcanoes, who are set to formally sign the contract anytime this week to become the league’s 27th member.
Iloilo, a province known for its rich history in football, is now thinking of pouring in its resources in basketball.
The Philippine Foremost Milling Corp. of La Filipina Uygongco Group of Companies, a firm involved in trading of agricultural raw materials being used in soybean meal, corn, wheat, and micro ingredients, among others, is willing to bankroll a squad in Iloilo.
Top executives of the company are willing to sit down and discuss their plans with Senator Pacquiao and Commissioner Duremdes as Iloilo is looking to become the other team to join the MPBL.
And then, there’s Mabalacat in Pampanga.
With the city of San Fernando already using the Pampanga Lanterns in the MPBL, Mabalacat will be carrying the city alone, but is determined to put up an equally formidable team and uphold the pride of Pampangueños.
Rey Joble is a member of the PBA Press Corps and Philippine Sportswriters Association.