SMC-PBA Group Making a Mockery of Filipino Basketball Fans

guest-post-iconThis is a guest post from Raymond.

The latest news (or rumors, if you may) from reports, “And the rich get richer, Arwind Santos to SMB?“:

The current PBA finals is still up and running but it seems to be shadowed by the latest possible PBA trade: Arwind Santos to the San Miguel Beermen.

The same star-studded SMB team with arguably no “banko” type players (Bono was a UAAP MVP, Eman is a former no. 1 overall draft pick, and Chris Calaguio is a grizzled veteran), now gets Arwind Santos, MVP candidate for the past 2 seasons and arguably among the top 3 local players in the PBA.

The PBA should just be renamed as San Miguel Corp. Invitational Tournament. This “league” is just making a mockery of the fans’ interest and affection (not to mention their pockets).

Notice how teams would end up bunched up all together after the elimination rounds; practically every team has a fighting chance to make it to the next round (equal marketing exposure). And notice that even if the SMC teams have superior line ups, they don’t end up altogether in the semis, a maximum of two SMC teams just qualify for the semis at any given tournament. Of course, they all belong to one “association”; that’s why non-SMC teams are allowed to have their share of semis exposure just the same. What happens is that the SMC teams are just rotating on who will advance on to the latter rounds from tournament to tournament.

Why did fan interest dwindle through the years? Two things:

  1. League predictability of teams being bunched up every after the elimination rounds (league parity? looks like league charade if you ask me); and
  2. Players (especially the marquee ones) just playing through the motions of a basketball game.

At the end of the day, it’s just a commercial league. As long as every participating team have had their share of market exposure, that’s all that matters. The sarsuela of “quality” games make that possible. It’s not unusual to see your powerhouse team beaten by a ragtag team. And it’s not surprising anymore how a Don Camaso can be traded for a Rico Villanueva. Just like in the NBA, in the PBA / San Miguel Invitational, it’s where “amazing” moro moro happens.

I’m just your ordinary Filipino basketball fan. And yup, I still watch the “crucial” PBA games (sudden death, games 7’s etc.) from time to time although I just tune in on the TV for lack of better stuff to watch rather than watch at the coliseum which I used to do before.

I just can’t help but vent my sentiments because I’m still one of the few (if there are still that remains) “morons” who still nurtures the (impossible?) dream that the RP basketball team can still win in Asian tournaments, with China’s and S. Korea’s A-teams participating. And I’m just saddened at how our “San Miguel League” stunts the growth of our Filipino players by bunching all those potential and established superstars. How can our quality players continue to develop if they just end up competing in a moro moro against obviously inferior teams? And by just going through the motions of competing for their paycheck?

I know we have our equally incompetent basketball governing bodies tasked to take care of international competitions (but that’s another matter altogether). Needless to say, the best talents in the land are in the “San Miguel League”. And it’s a pity to see their potential go to waste because instead of genuinely competing among themselves and bringing out the best in everyone, they just end up subbing for each other and be content with 10-15 minute playing time. I know it’s a professional/commercial league so I guess we can’t do anything about it if SMC wants to get Arwind for Bono, Eman & Calaguio, no matter how ridiculous it may sound.

I just feel insulted by these one-sided deals and maybe there are other Filipino basketball fans who feel the same way. To see the level of competition in the PBA deteriorate is as heartbreaking as seeing Olsen Racela miss those two free-throws at the ‘02 Asiad all over again. The only difference is the former is being done on purpose while the latter was just sheer breaks of the game.

Anyway, I hope there’ll be a game 7 so additional proceeds from gate receipts and ads in the TV coverage would come in; and just an incidental upside of a game 7 would be to expose the players to even greater pressure and see how they respond to clutch situations. At least even for just one game in the finals, we can get to witness real basketball.

0 thoughts on “SMC-PBA Group Making a Mockery of Filipino Basketball Fans”

  1. On my part, I guess the SMC monopoly contributed partly in my loss of interest in the league (not in the game per se, of course).

    But for me, it all started when I watched much less TV when I started working, and when Fil-Ams swarmed the league, who we don’t really know where they came from. Parang sumulpot n lng bigla sa Philippine Basketball arena.

  2. Used to watch PBA too..used to be a die hard Alaska fan..good old watching Tim Cone fume everytime they get beaten by Tanduay..hahaha

  3. And with a number of NBA games being aired regularly, one can’t help comparing the PBA and NBA side by side. Given the obvious disparity in quality of games and players’ talent level, it’s just normal for fans’ interest in the local league to wane. One factor that would re-ignite fans’ interest in the PBA would be GENUINE competition, rivalries, players playing with a lot of passion, etc. Obviously none of that happens until the tournament is deep into the playoff round, if those things can be observed at all.

    Would you rather watch Wynne Arboleda, the ragtag Barako Bulls, SMC teams fooling one another, etc. over D-wade scampering at every loose ball even during a mere regular season game, LBJ doing all those highlights, etc.?

    The PBA should stop being Bayan ng pa-Superstars. =)

    1. Well, you still have to see Deuts Ambuscade’s pivot move to the basket! It’s amazing how he did it! He must be in a different league –better than the NBA…

      1. Deuts Ambuscade belongs to a rare breed of athletes that come our way once every a hundred years. We are very fortunate to see him play in our lifetime. Forget LBJ. Witness Deuts Ambuscade! hahaha.

  4. Actually, mas marami pa nga Fil-Ams dati sa PBA kesa ngaun.. San Miguel – Alaska was one of my favorite rivalries in the past. San Miguel have contributed alot in the league.

    1. Perhaps the number of Fil Ams has levelled through the years since Andy Siegle, Nic Belasco and Jon Ordonio spearheaded the 1997 Draft which signalled the influx of not only Fil Ams, but the Fil Shams as well (i.e. Alvarado, Segova, Parker et al).

      But then again, it is not an uncommon sight to see 6 to 8 players on the court who are all Fil Ams. I have nothing against LEGITIMATE Fil Ams though, if I may clear that one up. They even play with more passion compared to our "local" ballers (think Taulava, Alapag, etc during past international tournaments).

      The thing is, we can't deny that some fans like Deuts sort of lost their passion and interest for the games due to the Fil Am invasion. Perhaps, it's because they just fly in, get their paycheck, then fly out and settle elsewhere. How can local fans connect with that?

      Anyway, yeah, SMB has contributed a lot to the PBA apart from having as many as 4 teams before. They have contributed tons of lopsided trades, self serving transactions, coaches doing the rigodon of their franchises, and ok, lots of championships since they've been in the league since 1975. Wouldn't it be nice to relive your favorite Alaska vs SMB rivalry had SMB not virtually monopolized the league right now and turn it into a moro moro?

      But at the end of the day, I, like all other bball and beer drinking aficionado, would still be drinking my San Miguel Pale Pilsen. That's why for the sake of Philippine Basketball, I hope SMB would just cease controlling how the basketball bounces. Have a good one!

  5. I have no problem with a league with 4 SMB teams, I just hope that there will be an expansion so that there will be more competition.

    I also think that there's no hope for the Philippines to regain Asian basketball supremacy as long as our players have that "superstar mentality." C'mon, even the foreign sportscasters of the Jones Cup are making fun of our national team as a team of "freelancers." LOL. I watch play after bungled play in which our "superstars" tried to impose their so-called "superior" talent, instead of relying on teamwork and communication.

    1. I'm for expansion as well. In fact I want the college leagues UAAP, NCAA etc, merge into 1 national league. As far as the PBA is concerned, being a marketing and commercial league first and foremost, we can expect that the most PBA Teams can number could be 12 because that the most optimal number (based on PBA people) where individual team exposure wouldn't be compromised. Then if SMC would have 3-4 teams and the Pangilinan group can have 3-4 teams as well, we'll have a great pro basketball league full of manufactured drama & suspense, one sided trades and hoodwinked fans realizing that they've just been had.

      And you're right, no matter how cliche it may sound, it's teamwork that wins games, not individualism being churned out by our RP Team from the PBA – Bayan ng pa-Superstars!

  6. I was once an avid fan of the league and even watched it numerous time in ULTRA for the love of the game. PBA is slowly dying it is a given fact, fans becomes disinterested because of issues such as this that were never addressed. Fil-Ams sparked the league at one point but people got tired of it in the later stage as there were too much of its kind….it was never regulated. Almost homegrown talents were set aside maybe because of colonial mentality na din. SMC is manipulating the league, they are doing it it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out.

    Until we learn that outside shooting is very lethal and vital for success and that dribbling is not, we cannot compete with China and the Koreans.

  7. mon! wag ka na manood ng pba kung ayaw mo!galitkba sa mga cojuangco? di na man nila pinipilit ang ibang teams para ma trade ang players ah! pag may trading of players, may approval yan ng board of governors. so, ano problema dun mon? dont watch pba anymore if u dont like. dami mo satsat eh! sa FIBA-ASia na man, tanggapin na rin natin na lumalakas na talaga ang mga teams around asia. wag natanung mag blame ng kung sino sino na lng. we hav to be positive and kip on dreaming. even the U.S team ay nakaranas din ng downfall sa world FIBA. china nga eh, talo na nga cla ng iran ngaun. so mon, stop comparing. kahit papanu, kita na man natin na ginawa nila best nila kahit na kulang sa preperasyon ang RP team..kaya d tayo mka move on at aasenso mga pinoy kasi blame tau ng blame. mon, f u realy a concern and basketball fan mag sugest na lng tau ng ideas na mkakatulong sa future ng RP team.

    Admin note: This comment has been edited to remove offensive words.

    1. Wag masyado mainit Nuj. I may have to charge your being a foul mouth on either raw passion for the game (which is hopefully the case since I share that passion for the game with you) or just being plain ugaling iskwater. Nonetheless, it’s none of my concern.

      To put things in proper perspective, if you have the capacity to properly process the content of my posts/comments, I have already heeded your advice even before you have sent this comment. I have ceased watching the PBA games save for the most crucial stages of the tournament since I believe it is only during these times that our players are able to play their hearts out (will still you deprive me of that?). And isn’t it a pity to see some of our once collegiate/amateur standouts languishing on the bench during such crucial stages of the season just because of the disparity in the league? These talented individuals could have shone elsewhere if not for these lopsided transactions. In the long run, it is OUR RP Team that loses due to these wasted talents and opportunities to develop.

      And another point, put things in proper context. My article was written way before the recently concluded FIBA Asia. I am one in saying that despite finishing 8th in a field of 16, I am still proud of OUR RP Team. We were that close to crashing the semis, we just fell short in the game against Jordan. That despite them playing together practically all their lives while us, just another collection of talent brought together abruptly to acomodate the tournament schedule of the San Miguel League. And after that “promising” stint, have you heard that the Smart Gilas Team will take over the build up for the next FIBA Asia? The San Miguel League is still the source of the best ballers in the country; and we don’t get to pick our next team from that source. Isn’t that stupid? Well, a lot of people are, so what’s the difference?

      About the trades, etc. yes, they need the approval of the Board. That is why I called it a moro moro because who in their right mind would trade Rico Villanueva for Camaso, etc. Don’t you feel AT LEAST insulted by such transactions? Come on, couple your passion for the game with some logic and reason. Don’t be a Nelson Asaytono.

      But taking off from your comment, yes I will “be positive and kip on dreaming”. And I also acknowledge your points on the higher level of competition around the globe. I’ll save my suggestions on later posts though, but for starters, if the PBA is really genuinely concerned with our international exposure, come up with a developmental pool of pro ballers and have them compete and gain international exposure – with regularity. Funding? PBA Teams and the NSA can come up with a cost sharing scheme if that’s the case. Again, the most talented ballers in the land are in the PBA, so it should be the RP Flag above their corporate gains. That’s the least that they owe to the multitude of Filipino bball fans they take for a ride game in and game out.

      But as a parting shot, I very well disagree with your point that “kaya d tayo mka move on at aasenso mga pinoy kasi blame tau ng blame”. You got it all wrong, Nuj. The reason why we can’t make headway anywhere is because we keep on tolerating, keeping a blind eye or a gullible demeanor to all the shenanigans that are happening around us. This is way overused but, “wala naman makakaloko kung walang magpapaloko” e. With an open mind, just try to reread what I have written in the previous posts; and think if somehow some of my points make an iota of sense. I am confident they have more sense than the SMC-involved transactions in the recent past.

      Anyway, have a good one. See, you can deliver your points and arguments without resorting to foul language. Don’t be a Mar Roxas. O sige, padyak na. =)

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