Potent Unit in the PBA? Keep breathing in

Jan 30, 2024

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Chicago—The Philippine sports scene is witnessing a major upsurge in the popularity of Strong Group Athletics (SGA). With its all-star basketball squad participating in the 33rd annual Dubai International Basketball Championship, SGA, which announced its debut as part of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) this past weekend, is still making headlines.

Previous PBA commissioner Noli Eala questioned me during my appearance on the television program Power as well as Play last Saturday because Strong Group is still undefeated at 3-0 as of publishing time.

Eala was impressed by SGA’s ability to finance talent, noting that it demonstrates “the dedication of a single team operator to basketball and that is significant because we are unable to observe that with other organizations because what we see, certain of the aforementioned teams, you know, the ones in question that they dismissed some of the players in question who have lots of potentials.”

SGA’s millionaire owner, Frank Lao, possesses the resources necessary to purchase and run a PBA team.

Above Is A Short Backgrounder.

According to several sources, Lao’s budget, which includes player pay, travel expenses, hotel accommodations, and bonuses, is approximately $400,000 for this particular pocket event in Dubai.

SGA boasts a strong coaching staff in addition to a squad that includes a number of local talents like Kevin Quiambao and Justine Balazar and four former NBA players led by Dwight Howard.

Alongside head coach Charles Tiu on the sidelines are Rajko Toroman, Brian Goorjian, assistant coach Topex Robinson, and consultants.

Consider the payroll at this point.

Examining the story of Frank Lao and his hopes for a Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) expansion franchise in more detail reveals that Lao is motivated by more than just participation honors. His history of backing prosperous schools and universities—such as the College of St. Benilde, La Salle, and Ateneo—in the UAAP and NCAA speaks for itself.

These connections demonstrate Lao’s enduring dedication to the development and success of basketball programs at all levels, suggesting that his interest in the PBA’s growth is more than just a side project but rather an extension of his lifelong passion for the game.

Lao has fulfilled all of the PBA’s requirements, however, there is still doubt if they would be awarded a franchise. Just a month later, the PBA commissioner admitted the difficulties growing clubs were having recruiting players. This acknowledgment raises concerns about the viability of adding new teams to the league by hinting at the complicated dynamics and difficulties involved in the expansion process.

Drawing comparisons to a comparable circumstance involving Chooks-To-Go, when attempts to join the PBA appeared to meet insurmountable barriers, helps prospective expansion clubs better appreciate the difficulties they may face. Barriers beyond official standards may arise from the complex dance between current franchises, player availability, and the league’s overall dynamics.

Frank Lao admits that it would be an impressive accomplishment if he was allowed to join the league. The truth is that, despite expectations, the doors to expansion might not open as quickly as expected. This acknowledgment demonstrates a realistic grasp of the challenges associated with changing the environment of a professional basketball league.

There’s a general feeling that PBA expansion may not happen anytime soon, so caution is in order. There appears to be some doubt over the possibility of success in this undertaking given the reference to viewing a movie that was similar to this one and featured Chooks-To-Go, where attempts appeared to be greeted with obstacles. It appears as though Lao is admitting that obtaining a franchise could be difficult.

However, the PBA is positioned as benefiting from SGA’s (probably the team or entity linked with Frank Lao) probable admission into the league. This viewpoint emphasizes the potential advantages that fresh blood could have for the PBA, boosting competition and adding to the sport’s general expansion and attractiveness. The admission that the league has not been able to acquire a franchise due to basketball with boundaries, however, highlights the intrinsic difficulties and constraints that have impeded growth initiatives.

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