PBA Commissioner Willy Marcial

Willie Marcial, the commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), has voiced his support for the idea of increasing the league’s teams to possibly 16, provided that the league’s TV partner is capable of broadcasting the additional games.

Marcial’s statement came after his recent appearance on the PSA Forum.

“We are open to having 14 to 16 teams, as long as our television partner is willing to broadcast games more frequently than just three times a week,” Marcial stated during the public sports forum held on Tuesday.

The current schedule for the league’s regular games falls on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, while Saturdays are generally reserved for out-of-town matches.

The PBA, set to launch Season 48 on October 15 with the Commissioner’s Cup, last expanded its team roster in 2014 with the introduction of Blackwater and Kia (now known as Terrafirma), although neither team has secured a league championship title thus far.

Meanwhile, Dioceldo Sy, owner of the Blackwater team, has previously raised the notion of adding more expansion teams to the PBA to league officials.

“As a team owner, I have advocated for this,” Sy affirmed, referring to the prospect of broadening the league’s membership.

Sy proposed that the PBA could effectively diversify by encouraging prominent companies operating in Visayas or Mindanao to join the professional league.

“We could potentially have two teams from Mindanao, especially with the forthcoming Quiboloy Gym, which can accommodate 75,000 spectators and is expected to be ready next year. This could involve one team from Davao and another from cities like Cagayan de Oro, General Santos, or Zamboanga,” Sy suggested.

The expansive facility in Davao, known as the KJC King Dome, is under the ownership of Filipino pastor Apollo Quiboloy from the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Sy also highlighted Visayas as a promising region for PBA growth, citing the construction of a basketball arena sponsored by the major mall chain SM in Cebu, along with potential options in Iloilo or Bacolod.

Considering the saturation of basketball events in Metro Manila, Sy proposed that hosting more PBA games outside the capital city could be a strategic approach.

“This approach could initiate a home-and-away format, as the PBA currently takes a secondary position at MOA (Mall of Asia Arena) and Araneta Coliseum. We could collaborate with PBA teams and various host cities equipped with suitable arenas,” Sy elaborated, alluding to the shared use of the PBA’s Metro Manila home courts for concerts and other sporting activities. (ai/mnm)