Manny Pangilinan eyes stake in LA Clippers after NBA ban on owner Sterling
Team owner Manny V. Pangilinan watches Game Two of the Talk 'N Text-Rain or Shine semifinal series from ringside on Wednesday at the Astrodome. Jerome Ascano

COUNT sports patron Manny V. Pangilinan among those interested in owning a stake in the Los Angeles Clippers.

Pangilinan told Spin.ph on Wednesday he is interested in acquiring a minority stake in the NBA ballclub, which is expected to be put up for sale after the lifetime ban meted by NBA commissioner Adam Silver on owner Donald Sterling over racist comments.

“Well, yeah (I'm interested in buying a stake in the Clippers). I mean, it’s a good team, I’m sure there will be many interested buyers in the (United) States,” the man simply known as MVP said after Talk 'N Text's Game Two win over Rain or Shine at the Astrodome.

The Talk 'N Text team owner said the Clippers’ current market value is pegged at US$575 million (P25.3 billion), but he intends to buy only a minority share if the opportunity arises to be able to experience what it is like to partly own an NBA team.

“If anything, kung puwede, babakas na lang kami kasi sigurado mahal iyan (Clippers team) eh,” Pangilinan said. “What I heard is US$575 million daw, but I’m sure it will be bidded up so babakas kami kahit small amount. At least, para magka-experience."

Pangilinan, who is also head of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, had previously explored the possibility of buying stakes in the NBA franchises in Sacramento and Golden State.

He admitted knowing little about the Clippers other than star guard Chris Paul, who was among the NBA stars Pangilinan's group brought to the country for two exhibition games during the NBA lockout in 2011.

Still, the 67-year-old chairman of PLDT said he believes the Clippers will be a hot commodity, given the loadful of talent the franchise has, from Paul to Blake Griffin to DeAndre Jordan, among others.

“It’s a good team. I really don’t know much about the team except Chris Paul because he was here. But he’s a nice guy,” he said with a smile.

Aside from Pangilinan, also expressing interest in buying the Clippers were Manny Pacquiao's rival Floyd Mayweather, Jr. as well as retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya.

Sterling, 80, was banned for life from any association with the league or the Clippers, and fined US$2.5 million — the maximum allowable under the NBA constitution.

If three-fourths of the other 29 owners agree to Silver's recommendation, Sterling will be forced to sell the team he has owned since 1981.

Silver is confident he will get the support of team owners to force Sterling to sell the ballclub.

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