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PBA: Powerade franchise sold to Mikee Romero-owned Sultan 900 Inc.

July 30, 2012 5:26pm

The PBA announced Monday that Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. (CCBPI) has sold the Powerade Tigers franchise to Sultan 900 Inc., an investment company owned by Michael Romero.

While Romero and his organization will still need to submit the required documents, as well as get two-thirds approval from the PBA's Board of Governors, it is widely assumed that this is a done deal.

The Tigers franchise, despite making it to the Finals of the 2011-12 All-Filipino Cup, has widely been rumored to be on the market for the right price, going back to February of this year. Back then, the word going around was that the team was to be sold to the San Miguel Corporation (SMC), which already owns three other teams in the league, the Petron Blaze Boosters, the Barangay Ginebra Kings, and the B-MEG Llamados.

A leaked letter detailed Coca-Cola's offer to sell its franchise to SMC for the price of one hundred million pesos.

The letter added, "Should the company not receive your response or acceptance of the offer for the PBA franchise within 60 days from receipt of this notice,then you shall be deemed to have expressly waived your right of first refusal, and the company can now offer the PBA franchise to third parties under the same terms offered to you."

Said letter had been dated November 11, 2011.

SMC's right of first refusal means that should the CCBPI want to sell the team, SMC has the option of making an offer for it, before any other third party buyer.

The timing of the sale, with weeks to go before the league's annual rookie draft, set for August 19, means the new ownership will be able to shape the direction of the team by selecting players they want.

The Tigers currently have the tenth pick in the first round of the draft. In theory, the team could also change front-office staff, coaches, or try to strike trades with other teams.

Powerade assistant head coach Charles Tiu tweeted out though that Powerade players and coaches still have existing contracts, and that they would be meeting with Coca-Cola bosses Monday evening.

Similarly, the franchise could also change identities completely, something which is almost a given in order to differentiate the team from its previous owners.

Romero previously owned the Harbour Centre Port Masters team in the PBL, which was also known as Harbour Centre Batang Pier and the Oracle Residences Titans. The squad amassed seven titles from 2004 until the PBL folded up in 2011. He is also co-owner of the AirAsia Philippine Patriots in the ABL, a franchise that won the league's first championship. - AMD, GMA News

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