MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is set to air all of its games live on TV5 for its 40th season, it was announced on Tuesday, October 7 at their preseason press conference. Play dates and time slots have also been streamlined so there will be a fixed schedule to follow at least for the season-opening Philippine Cup conference.
For the first conference, there will be 5 game days a week and every Saturday will be reserved for out-of-town games. Time slots have also been moved one hour earlier compared to last season's late night games.
For Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, the first game starts at 4:15 PM and the second is at 7 PM. The out-of-town game every Saturday starts at 5 PM.
On Sunday, the first game begins at 3 PM while the second is at 5 PM.
The pro league received plenty of flak from fans last season after a confusing game and broadcast schedule, as the PBA had to compress all of its play dates to quickly wrap up the season and allow national squad Gilas Pilipinas time to prepare for the FIBA World Cup and the Asian Games.
As a result of the compressed schedule, some games, usually the first game of the day, had to air via delayed telecast and fans had to switch from one channel to another to catch the broadcast. Additionally, game days weren't fixed to specific days a week. Towards the end of the season games happened almost every day.
"Five game days a week all live on TV5. And then our times are streamlined. Hindi na tayo paiba-iba (We no longer have constantly changing schedules)," Salud said at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel. "Channel 5 has given the PBA full support on its 40th season."
Including the two expansion teams, Kia Motors and Blackwater Elite, there will be a total of 12 squads vying for the Philippine Cup title with each team allowed 14 players and one reserve.
Because of the added teams, the PBA has shortened its Philippine Cup eliminations to just a single round robin instead of the usual one and a half.
"We have 12 teams. Hindi na talaga kakasya pag babalik tayo sa original natin na one and a half round sa first conference," Salud said. (It won't fit the schedule anymore if we go back to our original one and a half round robin in the first conference.)
"I can see it. It's gonna be more exciting for this season."
The PBA's 40th season is set to kick off on October 19 at the 55,000-capacity Philippine Arena with opening ceremonies to start at 1 PM.
There will likely be a "special guest of honor" at the opening but Salud refrained from naming the guest as he has yet to confirm his attendance.
The PBA will also add to its Top 25 Greatest Players list and extend it to a Top 40 list. The final Top 40 will be announced in April - Rappler.com