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Otago's competition for national basketball league re-entry has been cut in half.
The league announced yesterday only three of the six entities invited to make formal bids followed through with the process.
Franklin and South Australian entity Mt Gambier have both been confirmed to have submitted bids for entry to the 2020 league.
Canberra and two North Island entities have been withdrawn from the process.
The NBL board met yesterday and discussed the three bids submitted.
There is the possibility all three could be accepted, with the league looking to increase from nine to between 10 and 12 teams.
However, it did not want to rush things, and NBL general manager Justin Nelson said long-term sustainability and success was key for any potential entrants.
"The assessment was very thorough and out of that meeting we will be going back to Mt Gambier, Otago and Franklin with further questions.
"All three remain in the process and we are confident of meeting our timeline of making a formal announcement at the Final 4 in July, or the following week after the event."
Franklin is based just south of Auckland, and fits the NBL's goal of increasing teams in the country's northern parts.
It has a Facebook page and has been actively pushing its franchise, including getting fans involved to decide on a name - they chose The Bulls - and mascot.
Meanwhile, the Mt Gambier Pioneers played in the now defunct SEABL in Australia.
They were left without a league after a realignment of Australia's second-tier competitions.