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Phoenix needs PBA board's approval for purchase of Barako

March 1, 2011 7:30pm

A board approval is necessary for the entry of Phoenix Petroleum into the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). The petroleum company has expressed interest in acquiring the struggling Barako Bull franchise.

A highly-placed source from the league confirmed to GMA News that the rising petroleum company is close to purchasing the Barako franchise for an undisclosed amount, but that the selling price is expected to be lower than P60 million, which was what was paid by the then Photokina franchise in 2000 when it entered the league as an expansion team.

I had a great time with the Red Bull team. I have fond memories of Boss George (Chua) and his family. They are good people with a competitive attitude. I love all my players who gave their best when we were together.
Yeng Guiao, Rain or Shine coach


"A document has already been sent informing us about the possible takeover of Phoenix pending the board’s approval," said the source, who requested anonymity.

If Phoenix will be accepted, it will become the second petroleum company to join the PBA. Pilipinas Shell, which purchased the franchise of the legendary Crispa Redmanizers in 1985, was the first, and competed in the pro league for 20 years.

Phoenix Petroluem is a staunch backer of the PBA, having supported the league’s road games for several years now.

For Barako Bull, it was a fruitful 11-year ride campaigning in the pro league. While carrying the brand of Red Bull, the team had its early success, winning a championship in only its second year, in the 2001 Commissioner’s Cup under the tutelage of fiery mentor Yeng Guiao.

Guiao won two more titles for Red Bull — the 2002 Commissioner’s Cup and the 2005-2006 Fiesta Conference.

"I had a great time with the Red Bull team. I have fond memories of Boss George (Chua) and his family. They are good people with a competitive attitude. I love all my players who gave their best when we were together. We were a close group that regarded each other with sincerity and respect," said Guiao in a text message.

But the company has been financially challenged for several years now, forcing the squad to unload their marquee players such as Willie Miller, Kerby Raymundo, Junthy Valenzuela, Lordy Tugade, Cyrus Baguio, Mick Pennisi and Enrico Villanueva among others.

Two years ago, Barako even entered into a co-branding agreement with Harbour Centre to help the Energy Boosters in financing the team. The team went through problematic years since 2009, with members of the squad experiencing delays in their salaries.

All these are expected to be put to an end with the takeover of a new owner.

Barako Bull will become the second team in the PBA to fold up in a span of two seasons. Sta. Lucia, which competed in the league for 17 years, also bade goodbye last year. The franchise was taken over by Meralco, one of the teams controlled by businessman/sportsman Manny V. Pangilinan. - Rey Joble, KY, JVP, GMA News




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