BLACKWATER team owner Dioceldo Sy bristled at the mere suspicion that the PBA expansion franchise is a so-called ‘secret farm team’ of the Manny V. Pangilinan group.
Addressing loose accusations that have cropped up on line, the billionaire businessman said it was only incidental - and nothing more - that the team’s first two trade deals in the league involved Meralco and Talk `N Text, two teams belonging to the MVP camp.
“Nagkataon lang na ang mga unang trades namin are with the MVP group. Bakit naman kami magiging farm team nila? Bakit kami magpapagamit? Arch-rival nga namin sila sa D-League eh,” said Sy.
"Who's complaining? We are strengthening our team from nothing," he added. "As long as a trade is favorable to everybody, and the commissioner (Chito Salud) has to approve it naman."
Sy is set to release veteran big man Danny Ildefonso to Meralco unconditionally after picking him No. 1 in the dispersal draft. Blackwater is also set to acquire Talk `N Text’s Danny Seigle in a three-team trade also involving NLEX, another MVP-controlled ballclub.
Still, the longtime basketball patron maintained the Ever Bilena Cosmetics Company has always maintained credibility in handling its teams, which have won championships both in the defunct PBL and the PBA D-League.
The Elite also hold the distinction of being the only other team aside from NLEX to win a D-League title, a feat the Sy-owned team achieved in the 2012 Foundation Cup.
“Tinalo nga namin (NLEX) sila sa D-League two years ago. And we have a very colorful rivalry in the D-League. Tapos paglipat ko sa PBA magiging ka-alyado? Malabo naman yun,” said Sy.
“Hindi kami kailanman nagpapagamit. We take pride in our company’s championship pedigree. We’re in the PBA to compete. As you can see, from scratch, we’re slowly building a contender team,” added the former Uno High School center.
Sy also reiterated the team is always open to trades, as proven by its recent negotiations with Rain or Shine, which eventually failed to pan out.
“Nakikipag-trade nga kami last time sa Rain or Shine for their ninth pick. Hindi lang nagkasundo. We negotiate with almost every team. And we are open to talk to the 11 other PBA ballclubs,” said Sy, who lets alternate governor Wilbert Loa handle the trade negotiations.
“I can never stomach this team becoming a farm team of any ballclub in the PBA. I will not allow that to happen,” added the outspoken team owner, insisting he is spending his own money to fund the team.