ABS-CBN pulls the plug on CWBL


MANILA, Philippines – The Country-Wide Basketball League is dead.

Even before tip-off, the new league, envisioned to be in the mold of the now-defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association, a regional tournament, will not push through.

According to league organizers, the television carrier, ABS-CBN, backed out of the deal as it was declared to be a losing proposition.

CWBL Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Reynaldo Gamboa wrote to the eight teams that were supposed to comprise the regional basketball league that was supposed to play an inaugural home and away format expressing surprise and dismay.

“To our utter surprise and consternation, ABS-CBN backed out of its covenant to cover our planned CWBL tournament for its own personal reasons, allegedly financial,” Gamboa wrote.

A source from ABS-CBN said that “an error was made internally when the league was green-lighted without receiving the blessings from higher-ups. The numbers didn’t add up and would put us in a losing proposition.”

Gamboa bared that as of last Thursday, July 7, “ABS-CBN personnel assigned to the project were in constant communication with us on pertinent data and information on the participating teams. We cannot truly express the frustration and regret we are experiencing now."

The CWBL was supposed to be initially comprised of eight teams that would be based in the cities of Bogo, Bulacan, Davao, Cebu, General Santos City and Laguna among others.

This is the second time that a regional basketball tournament was scuttled by the television giant. The MBA at its height rivaled the PBA in terms of popularity and attendance. The league ran for four seasons, from March of 1998 to July of 2002, with 17 teams all across the country participating. The league folded when ABS-CBN withdrew funding from the league.

The snafu also casts in doubt the Philippine Collegiate Champions League that has also been airing on the television and cable giant.

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