The Realtors Are Back in Basketball

On: 07 August 2015

Buddy Encarnado and PCBL
There was a time that the Sta. Lucia Realtors were considered as one of the more competitive teams in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) that did not compromise its principles despite the temptations from companies that handle multiple teams in the league. Five years ago, the franchise was sold to the Meralco Bolts and never heard of again, until now.

Sta. Lucia Realty is back in basketball, not in the PBA, but with the Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL).

Organizers of PCBL seeks to make the league the premier grassroots tournament in the country, reviving the vision of legendary amateur leagues like the old MICAA and the Philippine Basketball League (PBL).

Former PBA chairman Buddy Encarnado of Sta. Lucia Realty bared that their group decided to form a stand-alone league that will showcase exciting games after seeing a huge surplus of players looking for an avenue to display their talent.

The PCBL already has eight committed teams in former PBA ballclub Sta Lucia Realtors, PBA D-League regulars EuroMed, Tanduay Rhum, KeraMix, Racal Motors, Jumbo Plastic and Cagayan Valley Rising Suns, as well as newcomer Foton.

Each team has also committed to play in the tournament for a longer period of time by putting in seed money for participation.

"We want to see an amateur league where same teams compete regularly, conference after conference," said Encarnado.

With its games set to be aired live on free television, the PCBL also hopes to stage some of their games in the provinces in order to bring the league closer to the fans.

Encarnado bared the league hopes to fill the void in amateur commercial basketball and intends to hold tournaments all year long.

"We are here to push for basketball continuity. May mga panahon kasi na walang laro and that's where we want to hold our games. At the same time, we want to co-exist with other leagues," said Encarnado, the league's founding chairman.

"We only want to satisfy the basketball appetite of our fans. We just want to rebuild commercial basketball, that's it. It's where we all (team members) started."

The Realtor's participation will mark the return to basketball of the giant realty firm, which has made its mark both in the amateur leagues and in the PBA under the stewardship of top honcho Exie Robles and Encarnado.

Sta. Lucia first got involved in basketball when it joined the PBL in the late 1980s. The Realtors finally made a jump to the professional ranks by purchasing Universal Robina Corporation’s PBA franchise in 1993.

As for Encarnado, his basketball roots date back to the days of ESQ Marketing - a team coached by Joe Lipa which pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the old PABL when it beat SMC-backed Lagerlite in a 1985 finals.

During its time, Sta. Lucia made news by signing Jun Limpot to the biggest contract in PBA history at that time in the 1990s. Still, the Realtors failed to win a title even after Limpot teamed up with Dennis Espino, but more than made up for that with the tandem of Espino and Marlou Aquino, including Kelly Williams, Ryan Reyes, Joseph Yeo and Dennis Miranda.

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