14 February 2014

Opening the Doors for Phoenix Petroleum

PBA Phoenix Petroleum
Almost everyone knows that the San Miguel Beermen will be back in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) beginning in the Commissioner's Cup after the league’s oldest franchise decided to carry the iconic brand once more.

San Miguel Corporation president Ramon Ang made the announcement to the press, which comes in time for the silver anniversary of the team’s Grand Slam feat in 1989.

"San Miguel Beer is synonymous to brewing excellence. We built our success as a conglomerate on San Miguel's name. We are happy to announce its return to the PBA and we look forward to its future success,” said Ang in a statement.

The franchise, which began its history as Royal Tru-Orange in 1975, has carried the Petron Blaze brand since the 2011 Governors' Cup.

With this development, can fans expect the Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc. to reapply again for a team in the PBA?

It will be recalled that rising petroleum company's entry into the league was rejected after failed to get the required number of seven votes out of 10 from the PBA board. Commissioner Atty. Chito Salud and former PBA board chairman Rene Pardo of B-Meg Derby Ace refused to divulge which teams voted no on the entry of Phoenix Petroleum in 2011, but a source from the league said the three teams from San Miguel Corporation (SMC) — San Miguel Beer (now Petron Blaze Boosters), Barangay Ginebra and B-Meg Derby Ace (now San Mig Coffee Mixers) — didn’t agree with the idea of the franchise transfer (Barako Bull) to the new petroleum company. The rest of the members, Powerade, Rain or Shine, Meralco, Talk N Text, Alaska and Barako, all agreed on the proposed transfer.

The fourth no vote which turned out to be the deciding one reportedly came from Air21, added the source. This move supposedly confirm what everyone has suspected all along, that Air21 has always been a farm team of the SMC ball clubs.

In any case, Phoenix Petroleum vice president for external affairs and business development Raymond Zorilla told Spin.ph in the middle of January 2014 that the fast-growing company's dream of joining the pro league is still there despite failing to muster enough votes the last time it applied for membership.

"The status of our application (for the PBA) has always been there. Remember we were almost there, we just lost by one vote,” said Zorilla, recalling the time when majority of the PBA board members voted against the entry of Phoenix Petroleum.

"It has always been a dream for us to join the PBA."

Now may be as good a time as any to revive the application, considering that new PBA chairman Mon Segismundo has made it clear that the league is "aggressively" pushing for expansion and looking to add at least two new franchises over the next two years.

Now SMC's decision to change the name of its flagship franchise from Petron to San Miguel Beer clears the way for Phoenix under the league's 'exclusivity' clause among member companies.

"So if we get invited (again), why not? The PBA is still the biggest and most prominent advertising tool in the Philippines, and it (basketball) is the country’s number one pasttime," he added.

The next question is, will they even get an invite?

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