THERE’S a new league in town and it’s for players aged 40 years and above — the Sinag Liga Asya Lakas Kwarenta.
The tournament which attracted 16 teams fired off last Saturday at the Ynares Sports Center in Pasig City, and this early, there are more teams knocking on the door.
“The players are happy. You will be surprised. And now, there’s a lot of teams that want to participate but we can’t accommodate them all because we want to finish before Christmas,” league CCC Leo Isaac said.
The former PBA player told Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum that each team is allowed to field one ex-pro provided that he has been inactive for five years.
Rodney Santos, another ex-PBA player, serves as league commissioner. He said the 16 teams were divided into two groups that will play a single round-robin elims leading to the quarterfinals, best-of-three semis and best-of-three finals.
“The players, including executives, are very excited because the games are televised on Aliw TV (formerly Studio 23) and are shown on Facebook, YouTube and TikTok. They are very happy to be seen in TV,” he said.
Among the ex-pros seeing action are Wynne Arboleda, now 46, Egay Billones, now 47, and Gilbert Malabanan, now 44.
Isaac told the forum presented by San Miguel Corporation, Philippine Sports Commission, MILO, Philippine Olympic Committee, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) that the ex-pros provide the added excitement in the league that has Rocky Chan as chairman.
“Egay Billones scored 46 points the other night and Gilbert Malabanan had a triple-double. Exciting talaga,” said the former Ginebra mainstay, mentioning teams from Binan, Malolos, San Pedro, Manila, Las Pinas, Quezon City and Pampanga as among the early entries.
Isaac said they plan to wrap up the inaugural conference before Christmas, and plans to hold three conferences for next year. Games are being played Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays beginning at 6 p.m.