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Purefoods PBA franchise to stay -- for now

August 23, 2010 5:38pm

Tags: James Yap
The storied Purefoods’ franchise in the Philippine Basketball Association is here to stay – at least for now.

This after the supposed sale of Purefoods, a well-known hotdog producer, to the Butch Campos' Del Monte Pacific Ltd. and Ricardo Po's Century Pacific Group of Companies, broke down due to price and control issues.

The Campos-Po consortium reportedly wanted to have controlling shares with Purefoods and in fact won the bidding over the Universal Robina Company of the Gokongwei Group.

The supposed takeover of the new group didn’t include the company’s basketball team in the pro league, prompting officials of Purefoods to gather the squad and bid farewell to the team that has become one of the most popular ball clubs in Asia’s first play-for-pay league.

“We thought it was really over for Purefoods because the top honchos even bade goodbye to the squad," said a source, who requested anonymity.

The supposed takeover of a new group that is not interested in maintaining a basketball team initially prompted SMC, which owns Purefoods’ PBA franchise, to carry a new brand in the league – Petron.

PBA commissioner Sonny Barrios told GMANews.TV that he was previously advised by the officials of the old Purefoods squad that it will carry the brand Petron for the league’s 36th season.

San Miguel Corporation has the controlling shares in Petron.

Upon learning that the Purefoods franchise will carry Petron, Barrios even instructed his staff to pull out the old Purefoods/B-Meg Derby Ace sporting merchandise in retail outlets.

Few days later, the decision was retracted and instead, Purefoods managament went back to carrying B-Meg Derby Ace.

“For now, B-Meg will be the team they (Purefoods) will carry for the league’s 36th season," said Barrios in a text message.

Purefoods is the PBA’s second most popular team. It caught the fancy of local basketball enthusiasts when it entered the league in 1988.

Purefoods, then owned by the Ayala Corporation, bought the old Tanduay franchise of the Elizalde’s at the end of the 1987 PBA season.

The Hotdogs inherited the bulk of the Tanduay squad composed of veterans Ramon Fernandez, who became the team’s playing coach, Freddie Hubalde, JB Yango and Willie Generelao, but drew more attention from younger audience with the acquisition of young turks like Alvin Patrimonio, Jerry Codiñera, Jojo Lastimosa, Glen Capacio and Jack Tanuan.

Patrimonio, a four-time PBA Most Valuable Player, became the face of the franchise until James Yap took over and became the squad's most popular figure.

Yap's present team, B-Meg Derby Ace, is the defending champion in the PBA Philippine Cup. - Rey Joble, GMANews.TV
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