EVER Bilena president Dioceldo Sy believes the company’s rich basketball history and billion-peso sales would be taken into consideration when the PBA board decides on its application for an expansion franchise in the pro league.
Sy on Monday met with league commissioner Chito Salud and some members of the board who all inquired about the capability of the company to sustain a pro team, something which he pointed out Ever Billena had been doing for the past 16 years.
“I just wish the PBA board will let us in. We have been diligently maintaining a basketball team the past 16 years. We have a credibility to protect,” said Sy, who won a couple of championships in the now defunct Philippine Basketball League (PBL), where he once served as chairman.
Sy said the meeting with Salud and the board went well.
“They just asked pertinent questions about our finances like our capacity to fund the franchise for the next five years,” said Sy, who revealed his team will meet again with the board on April 10 for perhaps the ‘final defense’ of the company’s application.
Salud earlier said the league hopefully will have a decision by April 15 about the application of the three new franchises, including Kia Motors and NLEX, although a source told Spin.ph the verdict could even be made earlier.
Sy just shrugged off suggestions that Ever Bilena is the most low-key among the three new applicants.
He stressed the company had already breached the billion peso mark two years ago, the reason he was baffled by questions about the team's capacity to maintain a team when he first aired his intention to join the pro league in a Spin.ph interview last month.
“We have surpassed the billion-peso mark in 2011. I think P50 million (a year of budget for a PBA team) is manageable for us,” said Sy, who was accompanied during the meeting with Salud and the board by his brother and Ever Bilena COO Silliman Sy, adviser Wilbert Loa, and financial manager Ann Dejos.
Sy took Spin.ph for a tour of his one-hectare warehouse and factory in Baesa, Quezon City where he took pride at the brisk discharge of his popular products.
“Kita mo naman ang sales naming, malikot. Hindi nagtatagal ang stocks,” he said.
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At the same time, Sy bared the Ever Bilena franchise is now in an expansion mode that joining the PBA would be a perfect venue to promote the company’s products.
“We want to go mainstream. Hindi na lang kami make-up. May mga household products na kami like sabon, cologne, dishwashing, detergent, lahat. Hindi na lang kami sa malls makikita, pati sa mga sari-sari store na,” said the Filipino businessman.
“We feel the PBA is a great marketing tool to reach out to the masses. We feel joining the PBA can give us better marketing mileage and better brand recall,” said Sy, who claimed the company spends P250 million in advertisement annually for Ever Bilena products.
But despite the whooping figures, Sy admitted Ever Billena is not yet ready to clash head on financial wise with major companies like San Miguel Corporation and the Manny V. Pangilinan group.
“Of course, hindi kami pwedeng i-compare dun. Ang daming companies ng mga' yun, pero kami siguro maaring sabihin na we can match well with the financial status of the current independent teams,” he said, obviously referring to Alaska, Rain or Shine, and Globalport.
“Although we may not be able to compete with those huge conglomerates moneywise, pero sa basketball we can defeat them. We can give them a good fight, we’ve done that in the amateurs,” said Sy, whose Blackwater Sports team upset NLEX for the 2013 D-League Foundation Cup title.