NBL, WNBL now professional leagues

Published August 26, 2020, 10:41 PM

by Jonas Terrado

No competition between NBL, PBA, says chairman Soy Mercado; WNBL becomes 1st women’s league to get pro nod
The Games and Amusements Board has given the National Basketball League pro status.

The National Basketball League on Wednesday was given the status as a professional league by the Games and Amusements Board but explained that it has no intention of ever competing with the more-established PBA.

In fact, NBL Chairman Soy Mercado said that the league is more focused on providing the opportunities for homegrown talents under its current rule that limits teams into tapping players from their provinces, cities or municipalities.

“Walang competition between NBL at saka PBA because we will be very strict dun sa mga players na makakapaglaro lang sila representing yung kanilang locality as compared to the PBA,” Mercado said in a press conference announcing the NBL’s pro status.

“Sa NBL kailangan makakapaglaro ang ating mga players kung siya ay tunay na homegrown dun sa kanyang locality na paglalaruan. So definitely magkaiba ang concept, it’s just a matter na pareho na professional,” he added.

The NBL has played two seasons since its launch in 2018, with the Paranaque Aces and the Taguig Generals emerging as champions.

The league was actually in the middle of its President’s Cup playoffs in March when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the indefinite suspension of games.

Mercado was joined in the press conference by GAB Chairman Baham Mitra, Executive Vice President Rhose Montreal and league commissioner Edward Aquino.

“We want to co-exist with the PBA, peacefully. We want to be a complimentary league, in fact, to the PBA and other leagues,” said Montreal.

Also turning pro is the Women’s National Basketball League, marking the first time a women’s basketball league gained such status.

The WNBL held its first season in 2019 with Philippine Air Force defeating Taguig for the crown.