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From SMB to Petron: Beermen to carry new name in 3rd conference

March 16, 2011 4:58pm

San Miguel Beer, the country's leading brewery, will be carrying its petroleum brand beginning next conference — Petron Blaze.

This was confirmed by PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial to GMA News on Wednesday.

“The request for the name change of San Miguel to Petron Blaze starting the third conference has been approved by PBA Commissioner Chito Salud," Marcial said in a telephone interview.

I believe the change of name has nothing to do with the pending application of Phoenix Petroleum. A team can use a name of its affiliate so long as its company owns 33% of it, which is why we saw Air21 changed its name to Burger King before and San Miguel once became Magnolia Beverage.
Chito Salud, PBA commissioner


Petron is one among the companies owned by SMC. Curiously, it was the old Purefoods franchise, one of the three teams owned by the beverage giant in the pro league, which was supposed to use the petroleum brand prior to the start of last season’s Fiesta Conference.

In fact, then PBA Commissioner Sonny Barrios even instructed his staff to pull out Purefoods’ merchandise being sold in selected sports outlets because there was already a request for the name change,

But with the supposed sale of the food company being put on hold at that time, a last-minute decision was made by the SMC management to use power feeds product B-Meg Derby Ace in place of Purefoods.

Petron Blaze’s entry in the PBA scene put a dampener on the pending application of Phoenix Petroleum to take over the struggling Barako Bull franchise.

The petroleum companies are direct competitors.

Phoenix Petroleum, a growing petroleum company from the south, has already expressed its intention to join the PBA by taking over the spot of Barako Bull, which filed a leave of absence in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup.

Barako Bull’s spot has been temporarily taken over by Pilipinas-Smart Gilas.

But the fast-emerging petroleum company, which has been supporting the league’s road games for several years now, will need two thirds of the vote from the PBA’s board members before it can enter the league by taking over the Barako franchise.

“Phoenix Petroleum has been supporting the league’s road games for several years now and its chief operating officer, Mr. Romy de Guzman, is a former vice president for corporate affairs of Shell Philippines, which also then owns a PBA team," said a former highly-ranking official of the league.

“In fact, he was telling me a lot of good things and how Shell officials like former commissioner Rey Marquez and former league official Rey Gamboa relayed to him the benefits of having a PBA team," added the official, who refused to be identified.

A few days ago, PBA chairman Rene Pardo of B-Meg Derby Ace told GMA News that the entry of Phoenix Petroleum is a big concern for the SMC group.

But several officials of the league also clarified that there is no actual ruling that prohibits teams which are carrying competing brands from participating in the PBA, although a lockout agreement is being implemented as far as advertisement is concerned.

"I believe the change of name has nothing to do with the pending application of Phoenix Petroleum," said Commissioner Salud. "A team can use a name of its affiliate so long as its company owns 33% of it, which is why we saw Air21 changed its name to Burger King before and San Miguel once became Magnolia Beverage. As to the question whether direct competition among team members is prohibited, it is not. We can allow direct competition, but the board can just express their vote whether to allow or disallow a company from entering the PBA because this is an association." - KY, GMA News




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