MANILA, Philippines—Kia Motors’ surprise foray into local basketball may even extend to the amateur ranks.
After getting the nod to join the PBA, Kia Motors looks set to also crash the D-League, the pro loop’s farm tournament, when it resumes on Oct. 27.
To be known as Kia Motors/M. Pacquiao, the car company was among the teams listed as prospective entries in the developmental league even as the PBA Commissioner’s Office Monday announced tomorrow’s deadline for interested squads to join.
The Kia squad that will be mentored by boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao will debut as one of two expansions teams in the PBA starting on Oct. 19.
NLEX, the six-time D-League champion which bought the Air21 franchise, and powerhouse Blackwater Sports will also bring their acts to the pro league, making the next D-League edition a wide-open race.
Aside from Kia Motors/M. Pacquiao, other teams set to join the D-League are Cafe France, Racal Motorsales Corp., Wangs Basketball, Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, Cebuana Lhuillier and Boracay Rum.
“Many companies have called us up and expressed their intention to join,” said PBA commissioner Chito Salud yesterday. “We would like to remind them that the deadline for submission of their letter of intent is July 30. There will be no grace period.”
Local players who want to join the PBA D-League Rookie Draft on Sept. 16 may submit their application no later than Aug. 28. Foreign players with Filipino roots have an earlier deadline on Aug. 22.
School-based teams willing to join the D-League, which will be televised on IBC-13, must also submit their list of rookie players by Sept. 4.