PBA commissioner Willie Macial wasn’t lying one bit when he said the PBA was very much willing to adjust for Gilas Pilipinas.
Days later, the PBA has evidently come through on that bold declaration.
After much deliberation during the league’s board planning session at the Warwick Hotel in France, the PBA has decided to shorten Season 48 to just two conferences—even after what Marcial described as a banner Season 47 that featured the PBA’s traditional three-conference format.
Season 48 will begin with the Commissioner’s Cup instead of the usual Philippine Cup, and hostilities will commence on October 15 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The October 15 start is about a month after the conclusion of the FIBA World Cup and is at least a week after the end of the Asian Games, which will be held in Hangzhou, China.
That October start also means an extended offseason for Asia’s first pay-for-play league, and it is one of the concessions the PBA had agreed to previously as it looks to go all-out in its support for Gilas Pilipinas and its World Cup bid and Asian Games stint.
"It's a sacrifice and a challenge for the PBA, but we're more than willing to do this in support of Gilas Pilipinas," PBA chairman Ricky Vargas told reporters at the end of the board planning session.
Despite these sacrifices, the PBA will look to start off Season 48 with a bang by bringing back the Bay Area Dragons, whose stint in Season 47’s Commissioner’s Cup added interest and intrigue into the league. Unlike last time, though, the Dragons will have to stick with one reinforcement only, which means Brian Goorjian will have to choose between Myles Powell and Andrew Nicholson.
The height limit for the upcoming Commissioner's Cup has been set at 6-foot-9, and it will retain the format of last season’s: a single round-robin elimination followed by the quarterfinals featuring the top eight finishers—with the top two enjoying a twice-to-beat advantage. The semis will be a best of five, while the finals will be a best of seven.
Following the Commissioner’s Cup will be the Philippine Cup, the start of which is still to be determined.