IT appears the plan of PBA chairman Ramon Segismundo to accept expansion teams is finally gaining ground.
A source told Spin.ph reigning Foundation Cup champion Blackwater Sports Elite is now in its final phase of negotiations with PBA officials regarding the possibility of becoming the 11th ballclub in Asia’s first ever pro league.
In an overseas call from China where he is currently on a business trip, Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy neither confirmed nor denied the information, although the amiable businessman did declare the franchise is preparing for its 'swan song' in the PBA D-League.
Sy has been a longtime basketball team owner who first gained national prominence when he fielded the Blue Detergent team led by Asi Taulava in the defunct Philippine Basketball League, and later joined the D-League while carrying the colors of his Blackwater perfume product.
All teams owned by Sy won championships in both leagues, and in fact, his Blackwater squad owns the distinction as the first and only team to beat powerhouse NLEX in the Finals and deny the Road Warriors a title in the first six conferences of the league.
“We are working on something big. And I could say it’s already in the bag. I am just finalizing it,” said Sy, owner of the famous Ever Bilena cosmetics line.
“It has always been my dream to own a team in the PBA, and I never wavered in achieving that dream, not even a single second,” added the Kalookan City-based businessman.
Sy is known to have close ties with some of the biggest names in Philippine business, including SM Group of Companies president Hans Sy and Universal Robina big boss Robina Gokongwei.
His business includes cosmetics, ready to wear clothes, and home product networking through his Ever Bilena company.
“Matagal nang gusto ni boss Dio na mag-PBA. Dream niya talaga 'yun. Kilala ko 'yun, kung ano ang pinangarap niya, hindi niya titigilan hangga’t hindi niya nakukuha,” said close friend and Blackwater Sports team manager Johnson Martines.
A longtime Sy confidante, Martines revealed how he has been tasked to form a formidable lineup for the coming Foundation’s Cup when Blackwater tries to retain its title.
“Sinabihan na ako ni Boss Dio na bumuo raw ng isang malakas na team, kasi he wants to leave the D-League on a high note. Siyempre, importante sa kanya na makuha ulit ang korona,” said Martines.
Meanwhile, Segismundo expressed elation over the development, saying it has always been part of his mission as PBA chairman to act as the league’s pitchman.
“I have been very aggressively talking to possible future team owners and letting them realize that the PBA is one of the most effective marketing tools in the country,” said Segismundo, who has always been in close coordination with Commissioner Chito Salud regarding the matter.
Allowing new teams to come in is part of Segismundo’s eight-point plan which he revealed to media during the league’s planning session in Sydney, Australia last October.
“We will seek to expand the league. We have surplus of talent and the league has been enjoying tremendous exposure in media and even on social networking sites,” said the soft-spoken Meralco team governor.