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    Filmanbank is first PBA team sold; Barako the last one. Is Blackwater next?

    Jul 17, 2020
    PHOTO: Spin.ph / Edmon1074's Blog

    DIOCELDO Sy, head of Ever Bilena Cosmetics, Inc., has announced that he is putting up his PBA team for sale and his asking price for the Blackwater franchise - P150 million.

    The previous PBA franchise transfer was not nearly as expensive.

    As the PBA looks into Blackwater's possible franchise sale, we look at how the Elite have fared over six years in the league. We also look back on the first-ever franchise sale as well as the most recent entry in the league.

    Through five seasons, the Elite have only 49 victories in 173 games, a measly 28.3-percent winning percentage. They only reached the playoffs four times.

    It's best finish was in the 2019 Commissioner's Cup where it ended third in the eliminations with a 7-4 record only to fall to No. 6 seed Rain or Shine in the best-of-three quarterfinals.

    The last time a franchise went up for sale in the PBA was in 2016 when Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc., a longtime league sponsor and owned by Davao magnate Dennis Uy, acquired the Barako Bull Energy franchise from the Lina Group of Companies of Bert Lina.

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    Phoenix has been looking to enter the league as early as 2011, but got the door slammed on its face when the San Miguel franchise renamed its team Petron Blaze.

    It finally garnered the required two-thirds vote from the Board of Governors in 2016, completing its acquisition of the the Barako Bull franchise for a reported P100 million.

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    After the purchase in January, Phoenix did not have to wait that long as come February of that year, the newcomer Fuel Masters were able to field a team in the 2016 Commissioner's Cup.

    Phoenix retained most of the Barako Bull players led by veterans JC Intal, Mick Pennisi, Josh Urbiztondo, and Willy Wilson while also naming Koy Banal as its head coach.

    In its first foray, the Fuel Masters wound up 11th with a 3-8 card, but bounced back in the 2016 Governors' Cup and made the quarterfinals as the No. 8 seed before falling to No. 1 TNT.

    Four years later, and the franchise has made it to the semifinals only once - in the 2019 Philippine Cup where, as the top-seed, Phoenix bowed to eventual champion San Miguel in five games.

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    Still, there's a lot of potential for the Louie Alas-mentored Fuel Masters with Fil-Canadian gunner Matthew Wright and the still-suspended Calvin Abueva leading the charge.

    Meanwhile, the first time a PBA team was sold was in 1978 when Ricardo Silverio of the Filipinas Manufacturers Bank bought the rights of 7-Up, then owned by the Syjuco group's Seven-Up Bottling Company of the Philippines.

    Filmanbank, as it came to be known, retained most of the players, led by Jimmy Mariano, Larry Mumar, and Jacinto Chua, as well as keeping Philippine basketball great and Uncolas mentor Lauro Mumar as its head coach.

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      The Bankers entered the PBA's fourth season and their decision to keep the core paid dividends as they immediately reached the Finals in their first conference.

      The Cinderella run for Filmanbank, however, could only end in a bridesmaid finish as the loaded Toyota Tamaraws of coach Dante Silverio and flanked by legends Ramon Fernandez, Robert Jaworski, and Francis Arnaiz finished off the championship series in four games.

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      Filmanbank's franchise lasted for only two seasons before selling the team to Galleon Shipping of construction businessman Rudy Cuenca in 1980.

      That was also the second time a PBA franchise was sold.

      In all, the PBA has seen 15 franchises sold from one company to another, and if Blackwater indeed proceeds with its plans to sell its franchise, it will be sale No. 16.

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        PHOTO: Spin.ph / Edmon1074's Blog
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