30 July 2010

Meralco's Entry a Done Deal?

Manny Pangilinan
By Joel Orellana

Manila electric CO. (Meralco) chief executive officer Manny V. Pangilinan has confirmed that the company is returning to the basketball scene.

"Yes," was Pangilinan's firm reply when asked by the BusinessMirror if Meralco is indeed joining the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) next season.

"But discussions are going on right now. We will announce it at a proper time," said Pangilinan, who is also president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

The franchise's way of entry in the oldest pay-for-play league in Asia is through buying an existing franchise in the league, but the chief of the SBP refused to identify the PBA ball club that Meralco will buy.

"We have to finalize the details yet so as of now, it's not yet a done deal," Pangilinan added.

Some reports are pointing to Sta. Lucia Realty as the franchise that the Meralco group will soon take over but the SBP head refused to confirm or deny it.

Rumors quickly spread that the Realtors franchise is up for sale after trading away their key players, starting from Dennis Espino, Dennis Miranda, Joseph Yeo and now Kelly Williams and Ryan Reyes.

Williams and Reyes were shipped to Pangilinan's team Talk 'N Text in a three-team trade that also involved Barako Coffee, which is also rumored to be on the way out.

Negotiations are said to be ongoing with former Meralco player and former senator Robert Jaworski to be part of the team as either head coach or consultant.

Right now, the only assurance that Pangilinan could give is Meralco is very close to playing in the PBA next season.

Meralco was a regular in the old Manila Industrial Commercial Athletic Association and Jaworksi was one its star players then, before the player joined Toyota in the PBA in 1975.

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