EVEN before the sale of Air21's PBA team to Metro Pacific Investments Corp. was completed, word has already spread of a supposed plan by Express officials to re-apply for a pro league franchise.
The plan was even confirmed by a source inside the Air21 camp, telling Spin.ph that the prospect of making a comeback in the pro league will surely be considered by the management.
According to sources, the Air21 team was sold to Metro Pacific for P280 million, which amounts to considerable profit for the company even if it chooses to pay P100M for a PBA franchise fee in the future.
Technically, there are no hurdles to Air21 in the event it re-applies for a franchise, but PBA chairman Ramon Segismundo isn't exactly thrilled to see the Express make a comeback.
"I don't think they (Air21) can just re-apply. They just sold their franchise eh," said Segismundo, who has paved the way for the league's expansion to 12 teams under his chairmanship.
"It will be awkward on their part kung nagbenta sila tapos babalik. Parang nakakatawa naman 'yun," he added. "Hindi rin maganda tingnan kasi magiging nakakatawa rin PBA nun pag nangyari 'yun."
Air 21 currently has links to PBA team Barako Bull Energy after businessman Bert Lina bought a minority share in the Photokina franchise in 2011.
The Air 21 group, however, has agreed to let the group of George Chua manage the basketball operations of the team since the merger.
Meanwhile, Air 21 team manager Danby Henares said his good friend Lito Alvarez is ready to leave the PBA to focus on his job as cargo president of Philippine Airlines.
"Lito is very busy there na eh. Mabigat ang job description niya dun. I don't think he'll still have time to manage a PBA team," said Henares, husband of BIR commissioner Kim Henares.