Kia can be the fresh air the PBA badly needs

OF the three PBA newcomers, Kia appears to be the most exciting.  That’s because while Kia’s fellow rookies NLEx and Blackwater are basketball animals already, having been honed up at the D-League practically since the loop started, not Kia. 

Kia is an entirely new banana in the basketball world and, like all brand-new, it promises to be a whole new package with a new flavor and scent. A fresh air that the PBA badly needs.

For one, Kia is first and foremost a car company, one of the country’s top-selling vehicles in the country.

For another, Kia is Korean-owned, meaning it is an automobile made in South Korea.  And aren’t Koreans crawling all over the archipelago now?  Imagine Koreans grabbing all seats during Kia games?

Kia becomes only the second car company that will enter the PBA, the first being Toyota which was a founding league member in 1975.

It is quite interesting to note that while Kia is Korean, Toyota was Japanese.

And, if truth be told, Toyota, after disbanding in the ’80s, tried to reenter the PBA in the early 2000s upon the prodding of loyal Toyota fans.

But the move didn’t reach the highest echelons of Toyota leadership, the scheme immediately scuttled by frontline forces not so much steeped in basketball.

I wonder now how Toyota must have felt after it was formally announced that Kia would start playing in the next PBA season.

This week, Kia will hold a press conference to officially announce its entry to the PBA, highlighting the day with the announcement of a contest to name the moniker for the Kia franchise.

“This early in the game, we would like to involve the public,” said Demosthenes “Bobby” Rosales, a top gun at the Asian Carmakers Corporation that has under its wings Kia Motors together with BMW Philippines.  “We want Kia’s PBA name to come from our people because we believe in the magic and power of the people.”

But while other contests limit participation to the public, not Kia.

“Our employees are allowed to enter but to be fair to everybody, their entries are for our internal interest only,” said Maricar Parco, the comely president of Asian Carmakers Corporation.  “Even Ginia (Domingo, Kia Motors president) is amenable to that.”


This early, Kia has shown its patriotism by revealing to me its plan to have Koreans as imports in the two import-flavored conferences of the PBA per season.

“Isn’t Shin Dong Pa, a Korean, still considered until today as the deadliest shooter from Asia?” said Demosthenes.  “That is why we are not totally discounting the fact we might hire Koreans to be our imports when the time comes.”

I was asked by Demosthenes, an esteemed golf buddy of mine, if I could recommend someone to coach Kia.

“Give me time,” I told him.  “I will scour the field and, hopefully, I can find one worthy for the job.”

Of course I will not recommend my son, who is one of the assistant coaches at San Miguel Beer.  The last thing I want to hear is me being branded as biased.

“Off-hand, have you tried sounding off Robert Jaworski?” I said.

“Not yet,” Demosthenes said.  “I heard he is very expensive?”

“Well, yes, he is expensive,” I said.  “But always, isn’t quality expensive?”

Demosthenes smiled and then he said, “You bet.”

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ALL IN    The NBA playoffs are on and top seeds like Indiana and Oklahoma are struggling.  If they pull through, good for them.  But defending champion Miami is done, sweeping Michael Jordan’s Charlotte.  Even before the season started, I picked Miami to retain its crown – but with LeBron James healthy all season long.  A case of San Mig light is up grabs.

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