HONG KONG—Taking over the league’s reins after a record-breaking year, new Philippine Basketball Association chair Mamerto Mondragon of Rain or Shine is naturally feeling the pressure.
“I am very impressed at what we (the PBA) achieved last year,” Mondragon told reporters here on Wednesday as the league board enjoyed some R&R after a hectic schedule charting the PBA’s 37th Season which starts on October 2.
“Of course, my target is to surpass that,” added Mondragon, referring to the P90 million in gate receipts the PBA achieved under the stewardship of B-Meg’s Rene Pardo. “It will be a tough act to follow.”
Mondragon said he is still feeling his way around “but they (Pardo and other past chairs) have promised to help me, and that is very comforting.”
Mondragon noted that the three-conference format promises a lot of action for the fans, adding he is also confident that marketing the league will be better this coming season “because we have a new television partner in TV5.”
He said that his thrust is to come up with programs that will help generate awareness of the PBA, and being visible on the Internet will be part of that drive.
Named along with Mondragon were Coca-Cola’s Jose Bayani Baylon as vice chair and Barangay Ginebra’s Robert Non as treasurer.
Pardo took over, four months ahead of schedule, from Angelito Alvarez—the Air21 representative who left after he was appointed Customs Commissioner—and thus served a term that lasted more than one season.
With the help of new commissioner Chito Salud, Pardo guided the league to that record-setting revenues at the gates and a 9-percent increase in live attendance.
“It was very fulfilling,” Pardo said. “I had my moments, my ups and downs. But, generally, I was happy with what we achieved last season.”
The highly successful Developmental League kickoff tournament marked Pardo’s term. “The formation of the D-League was a major achievement for me,” he said.
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