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Almost, but not quite: No Phoenix Petroleum in pro league — for now

March 29, 2011 6:45pm

Phoenix Petroleum’s entry in the Philippine Basketball Association will have to wait for some time while Barako Bull prolonged its leave of absence in the pro league.

On Tuesday, the rising petroleum company from the south failed to get the required number of seven votes out of 10 from the PBA board. This was disclosed by PBA commissioner Atty. Chito Salud.

“Barako Bull’s proposed transfer of its franchise to Phoenix Petroleum didn’t push through after it failed to garner the required seven or two thirds of votes from the board members," Salud told GMA News.

It’s frustrating, but we have to move forward. I guess they can wait because they (Phoenix Petroleum) are so serious to join. Maraming nagpaparamdam na gustong bumili sa franchise namin, but not as serious as Phoenix.
Raffy Casyao, Barako Bull representative

“The PBA board wants to extend its gratitude to Phoenix and its owners for showing their interest and enthusiasm in joining the league," added Salud. “We wish that the Phoenixgroup keeps its mind and heart open to joining the PBA in the future."

Salud and PBA board chairman Rene Pardo of B-Meg Derby Ace refused to divulge which teams voted no on Barako Bull’s proposal, but a source from the league said the three teams from San Miguel Corporation — San Miguel Beer, Barangay Ginebra and B-Meg Derby Ace — didn’t agree with the idea of the franchise transfer 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.

GMA News tried to confirm it with Air21 board governor Johann Ramos, but he came up with a surprising answer.

“I didn’t attend today’s (Tuesday) board meeting as I officially resigned as Air21’s representative to the PBA board last week," said Ramos.

On February 27, GMA News posted a story regarding Ramos’ resignation as board representative, but it was denied by Air21 team owner Bert Lina.

Ramos, who succeeded long-time board representative and former Air21 president and team manager Lito Alvarez late last season, reportedly resigned after he was “bypassed" in the seven-player blockbuster trade involving rookies Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Nonoy Baclao and Rey Guevarra and veteran players Danny Seigle, Dondon Hontiveros, Dorian Peña and Paul Artadi.

The said transaction was reportedly agreed upon by the top management of both Air21 and San Miguel.

Manny Alvarez, no relation to former Air21 board representative Lito Alvarez, took the spot vacated by Ramos and attended the board meeting Tuesday.

Asked about the failure to get the necessary votes for the franchise’s transfer, Barako Bull board representative Raffy Casyao said he would rather want to look at the future.

“It’s frustrating, but we have to move forward," Casyao said in a text message. “I guess they can wait because they (Phoenix Petroleum) are so serious to join."

"Maraming nagpaparamdam na gustong bumili sa franchise namin, but not as serious as Phoenix."

Pardo didn’t rule out the possibility of having Phoenix Petroleum joining the PBA in the near future.

“Usually, when a new team joins the PBA, they will have to join at the start of the season and not midway through the season," he added. “In the case of Phoenix, they wanted to join us in the third conference, which is not covered by our constitution."

San Miguel Beer will carry the name Petron Blaze 100, a brand from its petroleum company, which is a direct competitor of Phoenix.

But Salud stressed that the name change has nothing to do with the looming direct competition between Petron and Phoenix.

“There is no such thing as the PBA disallowing competing products from playing as teams in the league since it’s not covered by our constitution," added Salud. “The name change is a privilege for any team. They can change names so long as they own 33-percent of the subsidiary."

Board approves Barako Bull’s leave extension

Salud also confirmed that the board has agreed to extend the leave of absence of Barako Bull up to the end of the third conference. Whether the PBA will content itself with a nine-team cast for the third conference or if guest team Pilipinas-Smart Gilas will continue to use the Energy Boosters’ franchise is still uncertain.

The second-generation commissioner, however, set a deadline for the national team’s possible participation or a decision to forego joining the PBA's season-ending conference.

“We’re giving them until April 13 to inform us whether they (Pilipinas-Smart Gilas) will participate or not because we will make our calendar at that time," added Salud. - KY, GMA News
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