We wrote quite a New Year's wishlist.
The PBA has recovered quite nicely from the hard luck pandemic years. It welcomed back fans sans any restrictions and was able to hold two full conferences without interruption. The league even saw crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra make it to two Finals, which is always good news for the loud and proud Team NSD.
Suffice to say, there is some momentum here, and the PBA will need to ride it out for a bigger, more prosperous year this 2023. One way the league can do that is by giving us, the fans, these five things:
This seems like every PBA fan’s wish: to have a balanced, competitive league with no team bad enough to win 20-plus consecutive games. A lot needs to be done for this to happen, disapproving lopsided trades is a good start.
An influx of fresh talent
The PBA’s old guard (think June Mar Fajardo, LA Tenorio, and Jayson Castro) is still good enough. However, the league needs more Scottie Thompsons — young, dynamic, charismatic talents to ramp up interest and elevate that watchability index. Unfortunately, the country’s best young stars are all overseas. But hey, a PBA with Thirdy Ravena, Dwight Ramos, and Rhenz Abando? We’ll sign up for that!
Getting new teams on board serves two purposes. One, it breaks the perceived MVP-SMC duopoly that has long haunted the PBA. Two, having more teams will give more opportunities for players like Von Pessumal, Paul Zamar, and Jaydee Tungcab — talented in their own ways but getting very little playing time in stacked teams (Ginebra, San Miguel, and TNT, respectively).
A Bay Area redux
It’s highly unlikely Bay Area is coming back for the Governor’s Cup next year. But these Dragons with Myles Powell for another full conference would be something. They are talented. They are disciplined. They are well-coached. And they give the PBA a whiff of fresh air. If this isn’t possible, another foreign team or two would be nice, as long as they’re good.
Great imports are always a treat to watch, and we saw a few of them this conference — Earl Clark, Andrew Nicholson, and KJ McDaniels to name three. We’re hoping we see more of these pedigreed reinforcements next year to spice up the competition. Maybe Swaggy P can be a start?
How about you, what do you want to see from the PBA?