02 February 2012

How About "Ang Panglina Basketball Association (APBA")?

PBA Atin To?
If reports about the San Miguel group adding a fourth team with the reacquisition of Coca-Cola bottling company are true, then the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) may consider changing its name to Ang Panglina Basketball Association (APBA). Fans are already trickling each and every play date because of unconfirmed observation that there exist game fixing and player accommodation between sister-teams and under-the-table deals to go around the salary cap, but this latest rumoured deal may have sealed it all for the professional league.

It was not a long time ago when powerful owners with multiple stakes in the league block the entry of an independent and budding company Phoenix Fuel. Phoenix Fuel was supposed to acquire the franchise of the Barako Bull, but it failed to capture a two-thirds vote (seven out of 10), getting six nods and missing the grade by a single vote.

As expected, all three members of the San Miguel Corporation teams—San Miguel Beer/Petron, Barangay Ginebra and B-MEG Derby Ace, all voted against the sale of Barako Bull to Phoenix to spare Petron from having a competition from a similar fuel product. Alongside the three SMC squads, Air21 also opposed the proposal.

If the latest SMC acquisition pushers through, then PBA will have more than a third of its teams owned by a single company. There are currently 10 teams in the first ever professional basketball league in Asia.

Details of the Coca-Cola purchase are being kept under wraps, but some sources revealed that SMC has already made a payment to CEO Bill Schultz in what could be the highest amount ever paid for a PBA franchise – at least PhP 100 million.

It can be recalled that the Barako Bull squad was the last franchise that was put up for sale, with Bert Lina's Air21 bagging the rights reportedly for close to PhP 50 million last year with George Chua still retaining part ownership.

It was also rumoured that Coca-Cola will try to make more money from this deal by trading or should we say 'selling' its prized possessions (i.e. Gary David and Marcio Lassiter and JV Casio) before the second conference ends. Coca-Cola and SMC still have one conference to go before they can finalize the deal if ever there is one.

With four SMC teams, two MVP teams and two laughable Lina Teams, company employees and deluded fans should now shout, "APBA Atin To?"

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