The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale of Barako Bull to petroleum company Phoenix Fuel during a special board meeting held at the PBA office in Libis, Quezon City.
PBA Chairman Robert Non, who presided the one-hour meeting, said that the Davao-based company would take over the Barako Bull Energy franchise owned by the Linaheim Corporation of businessman Bert Lina beginning the Commissioners Cup on February 10.
“The special board meeting was held due to the request of governor Manny Alvarez of Barako Bull to discuss the sale of their team to Phoenix. The board has approved it and there is no objection,” Non told reporters after the meeting.
Eleven team governors led by former chairman Patrick Gregorio of Talk ‘N Text, Alfrancis Chua of Ginebra, Rene Pardo of Star Hotshots and present vice-chairman Eric Areola of GlobalPort attended the meeting except Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) which decided to abstain.
According to PBA ruling, two-third votes from board members are needed to approve the sale of any existing team.
“They [Phoenix] are financially capable of sustaining a team in the PBA that’s why the decision isn’t too hard for us. Our request for Phoenix is it will remain effective next conference. There will be another board meeting on the 28th and we’re inviting the Phoenix people to attend,” Non said.
“We will discuss the franchise fee, among others. All the existing contracts of Barako Bull players and coaches will also be absorbed by Phoenix. There will be no trade of players until January 28. We will give them ample time to prepare next conference,” added Non.
PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa also revealed that Phoenix would be having two teams, one in the PBA and another in the PBA-Developmental League.
“They have teams in the PBA and the D-League,” he said. “It’s up to them what brand they use.”
Alvarez said that the Barako franchise has been sold to Phoenix for more than P100 million pesos since it is an existing team with players and coaches.
An expansion team without players needs to pay at least P100 million cash bond to join the league.
“I’m sure it’s more than P100 million but I cannot divulge the exact amount,” said Alvarez. “Mr. Lina is too busy as Commissioner of Bureau of Customs that’s why he sold the team. If he is no longer the Commissioner of Customs, I guess there is a possibility for the Linaheim to return to the PBA.”