BLACKWATER faces D-Day when team owner Dioceldo Sy sits down with top PBA brass on Thursday in its bid to become the league’s 11th member ballclub.
Sources told Spin.ph that Sy is set to meet with commissioner Chito Salud, chairman Ramon Segismundo, and media bureau chief Willie Marcial for what should be 'the final defense of the company’s application.’
The meeting will specifically evaluate the financial muscle of Blackwater Sports, which is under the Ever Bilena cosmetics company, and its ability to maintain a PBA ballclub.
Blackwater Sports official and restaurant magnate Wilbert Loa is optimistic the company can pass the league’s final requirement.
“Kaya naman namin. Kasi kami naman ang top selling Filipino make-up brand. The sales chart of our company will prove that we are a legit applicant,” said Loa, a longtime Sy confidante.
“Our brand has been a household name and synonymous with women's beauty products. Thirty one years na ang Ever Bilena. Hindi kami hao shao (fake) na kumpanya,” added the outspoken basketball official.
Loa also emphasized the main reason the firm wants to become part of the PBA family is to give more chance for local talents to show their wares in Asia's first play-for-pay league.
“Naaawa kasi kami sa mga talent na nasasayang taon-taon especially after the draft. Alam namin yun kasi we control a team in the D-League. Alam namin damdamin ng players na naaalisan ng pwesto sa PBA,” Loa said, pointing out that the absence of a Philippine team in the regional Asean Basketball League (ABL) further shrunk the opportunities for Filipino players.
“At least, kung makakapasok kami, that's 14 more playing opportunities for 14 more players. And hopefully. madagdagan pa ulit ng isa pa o dalawa pang sasali. Sana hindi lang kami ang mag-pakita ng interest,” added Loa, who co-owns the popular Tao Yuan Chinese restaurant chain.
Sy is currently on a business trip in Xiamen, China, but is expected to return on Wednesday to immediately gather his team of officials in preparation for their meeting with the PBA.
Blackwater Sports is one of the most successful amateur teams in the country today, having won titles in the now defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL), and just recently the D-League Foundation Cup.
It is the same franchise that discovered and honed the talent of several PBA stars like Asi Taulava, Jimmy Alapag, Roger Yap, Enrico Villanueva, Richard Yee, Aries Dimaunahan, Jeric Fortuna, and Chester Tolomia.
Blackwater Sports management is also known for discovering talents from far flung areas through its networking as the Sy franchise is also able to discover and give playing opportunities to little-known players like Justin Chua, now with Globalport, Kevin Ferrer of University of Santo Tomas, Adamson star Jericho Cruz, and current Blackwater star Allan Mangahas.