Mendoza: Go back to Clark, guys

Al Mendoza
·2 min read

THE trouble with us is, we always think of the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) as Manila property. About time we changed that mindset.

While the PBA is truly Metro Manila-based, it has been national in scope since its birth 46 years ago. That is why it is telecast nationally since Cisco Oliver of Mariwasa and Ramon Lucindo of Concepcion battled for the league’s inaugural jumpball on April 9, 1975, at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City.

I’ve seen the PBA’s conception. I’m honored to cover its initial stirrings in the company of my esteemed colleague Tony Siddayao(+) at the Mariwasa building on Aurora Blvd. in Sta. Mesa, Manila, when Mariwasa president Emerson Coseteng presided over the league’s first organizational meeting. Coseteng(+) went on to become the first PBA president, with the late, lamented Leo “Mr. Gentleman” Prieto as founding commissioner.

The PBA is in the news again, not for the return of its badly-missed exciting games, but for its inactivity for almost a year now.

Reason? The government has continued to freeze the league due to pandemic issues, saying the PBA will only return when virus cases drop radically in the metropolis and in Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan.

No debate there.

But the PBA shouldn’t just sulk in a corner. Pampanga isn’t in the virus mix. So, why don’t we play the 46th season in Pampanga — again? Weren’t we super successful in Pampanga’s Clark last year?

The league spent a staggering P65 million for its lone conference, 45th season at the Clark bubble.

So what? I’m sure that with a little re-engineering of expenses, costs could go down to acceptable levels.

Besides, money can be re-earned. Biting the bullet has always been part of any business venture. And the PBA is business big time. Amid the health crisis, it can only sink or swim.

Thus, it has boiled down to either live or die. No doubt the PBA is on a downward financial spiral. Once the league’s plummet goes beyond stopping, goodbye, amigo.

So, use logic. Go back to Clark, guys. It’s your indisputable front-line defense. You can’t argue with success, right?

The call of the times is deafening: Save the season.