Suggested PBA Expansion Squads
February 14, 2012 by Sydrick Salazar
Check out my blog at www.sydrified.org!
I remember a couple of years back when Phoenix Fuel made a bid to for a PBA ballclub. It was evident as early as 2009 that Barako Bull has exhausted all of their yearnings. Phoenix was on the verge of joining the PBA but their case was shut down by the PBA’s Board of Directors, most especially the representatives of the San Miguel Corporation because they were planning to bring in Petron.
Through the 90’s, check out what the other franchises were doing:
Petron: San Miguel and Magnolia
Ginebra: Anejo Rhum 65, Tondena Rhum 65, Gordon’s Gin
B-Meg: Coney Island, Purefoods Karne Norte, Purefoods TJ Hotdogs
Pop Cola: Sarsi, Sunkist, Swift
Shell: Shell Rimula X, Shell Velocity, Shell Super Unleaded
Talk N Text: Pepsi. Pepsi Mega, 7Up
Except for Sta. Lucia and Alaska, almost all of these squads changed their names to promote their product. This is why at this point two petroleum brands will leave both squads missing out on the whole marketing and advertising experience the PBA can offer. One might ask – what about Pop Cola and Pepsi of the 90’s that debuted in the league at the same time or Purefoods and Swift of the same era? Well, back then PBA teams have a more “tolerable” environment. In some ways, Petron could have still stuck with the San Miguel name but they will still bar Phoenix Fuel from joining because they can’t let a brand competitor get from publicity at their expense.
Anyway, afterwards it went downhill for Barako Bull and they took a permanent leave of absence from the league. It was a blessing in disguise for the Energy Boosters as they were nursed back to strength by the Lina clan.
But ever since, expansion has been a touchy subject.
And it looks like it will stay this way for a long time.
I have a lot of swirling rumors of corporations and conglomerates longing for a PBA stint. Harbour Centre and Duty Free Philippines were among the most recent clubs to check out the league. Earlier in Twitterlandia, Phoenix Fuel has stated that they are still in the hunt for a PBA franchise.
First and foremost, the PBA is a commercial league. Aside from winning championships, their most important mission is to advertise their brand. These companies use the league to promote their products.
I can see a brand getting plugged whenever their teams step out of the court. A typical 30-seconder plug in the major networks costs around a million during noontime and primetime. If PBFantasy has thought us anything – a million is enough to give a random PBA team a bumper crop of talents. Just ask the current incarnation of Air21… I bet that team is seriously cheap! Having a PBA team is financially better than buying commercial spots on programs that doesn’t cater their target market.
For the next part of my article, I will enumerate a bunch of products and industries that can pursue a PBA squad for their commercial consumption.
Anyway, here are a couple of examples:
Groceries are sprouting like crazy in the metro. In Commonwealth Avenue alone, you can see Puregold, Shopwise, and Robinson’s Supermarket fighting for retailing supremacy. Of course we all know the real fight starts once SM Hypermart wields its power. I can see these businesses flourish if they want to cradle a squad. I can honestly see a PBA team from this mold as expressed by Duty Free a while back.
One might think that a supermarket fares little difference with malls but I disagree. Malls earn more because they have more services and also, this is not like a couple of decades ago where the SM blue plastic bag only have four or five branches. Both the Ayala Malls and SM Shopping Centers have conquered nationwide acclaim and while I know shopping malls are one of those establishments that can advertise itself, if they want to – then this is their avenue.
It is hard to plug villages and subdivisions and ultimately, Sta. Lucia had to give up its franchise to save their money. Fact is though, the business of buying and selling house and lot took a hit on the groin this decade. Now though, we can see the return of the field to prominence with the rise of condo units and other developments. And even if the Realtors fled the scene, Sta. Lucia scored major brownie points as one of the most notable village builders in their two decades worth of involvement in Philippine basketball (PBL and PBA).
Let’s face it – if there was one MBA team besides FedEx that can produce a memorable franchise in the PBA, it has got to be Cebuana Lhuillier. The Gems have a rich basketball history dating back to the Cebu basketball leagues. They are now housed in the PBA D-League where they may or may not take the next step. From their MBA, NBC/MVBA, PBL, and D-League connections, I think the most logical step for the squad that “discovered” Dondon Hontiveros, Rob Wainwright, Stephen Padilla, and Matt Mitchell is a spot in the big leagues.
100% Cotton Shirts:
Yes you heard me. I want a random t-shirt company to allot 100 million of their annual income for the PBA. That team will be awesome and people will like this team and we will call this team… the Crispa Redmanizers! I think everyone young and old would want to see their beloved franchise brought back to life. I don’t even care what kind of brand they are! I don’t care if Crispa now sells those ugly Camisa De Chinos or “gay up” by inserting a bunch of laces and tassels on the sleeve areas! I just want the green and white colors of the legendary franchise to return to the pro ranks.
And of course when I plead for 100% cotton shirt squads to get their much-needed revival, certainly cars aren’t far behind. Besides, Toyota had a PBL team a couple of years back bannered by Joe Devance, Ronjay Enrile, and Boyet Bautista. Having these throwback squads in the mix could give the product and the league in general buzz. I don’t care how they destroy their legacies but if it gives me a taste of a new school Toyota versus Crispa rivalry, then I’m all for it. Hell, I’m going to boldly say this and I say they will NOT destroy their legacies. I think as much as every player wants to play for the Ginebra jersey, there is a remote chance that ballers will grab the chance to wear the kits of these legendary squads.
Tanduay, Red Bull, and Welcoat were among the top PBL squads that “leveled up” and I feel that it’s an injustice to the Harbour Centre Port Masters to pick up championship after championship outside the PBA. Like the already-mentioned squads, the “Batang Pier” owns a rich roster of talents led by Macmac Cardona, Joseph Yeo, LA Tenorio, Jayson Castro, Rico Maierhofer, and others. Mikee Romero still has the chance to claim a spot in the PBA but he’s kind of busy right now with the Air-Asia Philippine Patriots. I am seriously hoping that he’ll get an opportunity to own a PBA squad before 2015 happens.
From Ma Jian to Biboy Simon to Cyrus Baguio to Peter June Simon and to Gabe Norwood, Hapee Toothpaste (or the Lamoiyan franchise) has shown their love for Philippine basketball. The brand has also sponsored a couple of national team stints in the past few years so maybe there’s a chance for them to elevate their hoop status. Hapee, lagging to Colgate in the teeth whitening competition, could really use the exposure to narrow the gap. And for those bozos who think a toothpaste joining the pro ranks is kind of messed up, there are other girly products that made its way in the PBL (Ever Bilena! Cough! Cough!) and in the PBA (Galerie Dominique! Cough! Cough!).
I think this is the least possible scenario to pan out but hear me out. Sometimes during RP national tilts, a random politician wants to fund a franchise. I know this can just happen during election time but hey, I knew a lot of people that want to buy Senator John Osmena’s John-O Juzz brand that pretty much funded the NU Bulldogs’ stint in the PBL in the early 2000’s. Jinggoy Estrada also used this chance to promote his city’s gym and his businesses through the MBA’s San Juan Knights and let’s not forget Manny Pacquiao’s Liga Pilipinas’ MP Gensan Warriors. So what’s John-O Juzz you might ask? I have no idea.
ANYTHING THAT HAS ASIA BREWERY IN IT:
Yes! If this group wants another crack in the pro ranks, I say let’s go. Admittedly Wilfred Stephen Uytengsu’s disputes are nothing compared to the anger Lucio “Bong” Tan had against SMC and the PBA back in the early 2000’s. He felt neglected and people are bent to go against him but fact is though, he had flaws. Playing “alleged Fil-Ams and shams” Eric Menk, Rudy Hatfield, and Sonny Alvarado proved to be costly (in fines and championships) and in a span of five years, Tanduay will drop out from their second coming… in style by “feeding” the best of the league with their best. I highly doubt if Asia Brewery will return to the league especially with the league’s current look but if he still thinks that the PBA is a SMC and a MVP league, maybe he can team up with Uytengsu to form a “dominant” minority. Yes, a dominant minority that will complain and argue whenever the wealthy teams use Barako Bull and Air21 for their “trading needs”!
It seems like of all the industries and products I named, the only constants are SM. Currently funding the new-look NU Bulldogs, I think this group can hold its own financially. Rain or Shine is maintaining a top notch squad and they just sell paints! Surely a rich company owning a big chain of super malls has money to buy a PBA franchise! I want SM to enter the PBA fray because unlike other potential squads, they have the goods to not look like chomps when they fare against SMC and the MVP teams.
But face it, SM has done enough to maintain its top-tier status in the country in the littlest of ways and with only the jeepney, bus, and FX signs being their only advertising.
This is why the PBA is firm in its stand to weed down the teams trying to join the PBA. The last thing they need right now are a couple of teams that will annoy them to death with constant financial and commitment issues.
That’s why if fans think that expanding the PBA is easy, they are forgetting the other problems an expansion squad needs to expect other than a weak roster and an insanely hefty expansion fee.
I personally think that Harbour Centre and Cebuana Lhuillier are perfect candidates if and when expansion takes place. With the short second and third conferences, an additional two squads could make the round robin format more than ten games.
Of course, let’s just hope the Board of Directors agree to what the fans think.