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    Santi Araneta confirms ABL approach but rates LBC's chance of joining league as 'slim'

    Apr 14, 2014

    THANKS, but no thanks seems to be the message LBC Express is trying to send to the Asean Basketball League after chief executive officer Santi Araneta rated his company’s chances of joining the ABL as “slim.”  

    The LBC boss has confirmed that the ABL approached his company and held a meeting with his team, led by chief of marketing Javier Mantecon, regarding the possibility of the shipping giant taking part in the regional league for its 2014 season.

    “We are still deliberating all costs and advantages for LBC,” Araneta told

    The ABL has been searching for a Philippine squad since San Miguel declined to participate after ruling the 2013 season, leaving the league without a representative from the country which unquestionably has the biggest basketball market in the region.

    The league shifted its sights to LBC after its first target, Blackwater Sports, was accepted as one of the three new clubs in the PBA.

    But asked about the company’s chances, this early in the negotiations, of joining the ABL, Araneta was quick to reply.

    “Slim," he said despite a concession the ABL is willing to offer, a source disclosed, that LBC doesn't have to pay a franchise fee to join.

    It appears the shipping magnate wants to invest more on football and cycling, both of which he advocates as his company is already a major sponsor of the United Football League and bankroller of the Ronda Pilipinas multi-stage cycling race. 

    “I believe basketball has enough corporate support," the Kaya FC owner and concurrent UFL chairman said. "LBC will look for other sports where Filipinos can excel like football and cycling for now."

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