Barako Bull won’t be joining the Philippine Basketball Association’s season-ending conference.
As the clock struck 5 p.m. Monday, the PBA Commissioner’s Office finally decided to come up with a nine-team scheduled format for the Governors Cup, which begins June 2.
“Nine teams na tayo niyan," said PBA commissioner Atty. Chito Salud. “We waited for Barako’s word whether they will join or not, but no word or statement reached us as of 5 p.m. Monday."
This will be the first time in a long while the league will have a nine-team cast brought about by Barako Bull’s decision to take a leave of absence.
The food and energy drink company filed a leave of absence in the Commissioner’s Cup to give way to the Pilipinas-Smart Gilas squad to maintain the league’s ideal 10 participating teams.
It also gave the Energy Boosters some time to carefully evaluate whether to prolong their leave or decide to participate in the season-ending meet. Eventually, the team decided not to join as there was no confirmation from them as of the 5 p.m. deadline on Monday.
This conference, the PBA will be forced to hold a conference with nine participating squads as the Nationals could not join the tournament, owing to their early commitment of competing in the ongoing FIBA Asia Champions Cup and other international events.
The Pilipinas-Smart Gilas, which will be reinforced by professional players Asi Taulava, Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams and Dondon Hontiveros, is also bound to compete in the coming FIBA Asia Championship, the qualifying tournament to the 2012 London Olympics, in September.
The last time the PBA started a conference with less than 10 teams was in 2005-06 season after Shell filed a leave of absence. The league returned to a 10-team cast when Welcoat bought the Pilipinas Shell franchise.
“We already have a schedule for a nine-team cast, but we just waited for Barako Bull," said Salud. - Rey Joble/KBK, GMA News