Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Phoenix Petroleum’s PBA entry a big concern for San Miguel

Phoenix Petroluem, the company keen on taking over the struggling Barako Bull franchise, will have to wait until Friday before knowing the decision of the members of the Philippine Basketball Association board.

But even before its possible entry will be tackled, there’s already a major concern from San Miguel Corporation, a company which also owns one of the biggest players in the petroleum business — Petron.

This was relayed by PBA board chairman Rene Pardo of B-Meg Derby Ace to GMA News on Monday.

“Yes, it’s a big concern as SMC also owns a petroleum company," Pardo said in a telephone interview. “I expect board representatives of SMC to raise the issue when the board meets on Friday."

Before the 36th season started, SMC has notified then PBA commissioner Sonny Barrios of a name change in one of its teams. Petron was supposed to be used by the old Purefoods franchise until a last-minute change was done. The food company instead carried the name B-Meg Derby Ace, a power feeds product.

A high-ranking official from the league said the entry of Phoenix Petroleum will certainly have an impact on SMC.

“Malaking epekto, particularly kapag nag-request sila ng name change," said the source, who requested anonymity.

Direct competition among participants

But the same source added there’s already a precedent as far as direct competition is concerned.

“Right from the start, we already saw that and fans were aware of it, too. Crispa and U-Tex are both in the textiles business, so they are competing brands, so as 7-Up and Royal Tru-Orange, which also have PBA teams back in the 70s. Perhaps, the recent direct competitors in the league were Purefoods and Swift," said the source.

Another high-ranking official said the lockout policy in advertisements is being connected to the “direct competition rule" being implemented by the league right now.

Because of the lockout in advertising, ang thinking ng board, bawal rin ang competing brands from participating in the PBA," said the source. “There’s no written provision as far as competing brands’ participation is concerned. So it’s really up to the board on how they will interpret the rules on direct competition."

But Phoenix Petroleum’s possible participation shouldn’t be the only concern to be tackled by the board, according to Pardo.

“Maybe we should be informed about Barako Bull’s status now," added Pardo. “Part of the condition when the team filed a leave of absence is to give way to Smart Gilas, granting they will return in the third conference."

Barako Bull has filed a leave of absence in the ongoing Commissioner’s Cup, paving the way for the entry of Pilipinas-Smart Gilas.

The Nationals are likely to play in the PBA for the remainder of the season, but whether they will continue to use the spot of Barako Bull or become the league’s 11th member in the third conference pending the decision of Phoenix Pelroleum’s intention to take over the Photokina franchise remains to be seen.

League commissioner Atty. Chito Salud said the regular board meeting was reset from Tuesday to Friday with Phoenix Petroleum’s plan to take over Barako and the approval of the terms of reference of the coveror next conference being put on top of the agenda.

“It was moved to Friday, but of course, Phoenix will be the main topic in the agenda as well as the TOR for the TV coverage next conference," Salud said in a telephone interview. - GMA News

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