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    COLUMN: Is NLEX's PBA franchise being put up for sale?

    Sep 11, 2022
    NLEX
    PHOTO: PBA Images
    spin zone

    CHICAGO - Watching NLEX sever ties with a gifted, proven winner such as head coach Yeng Guiao was troubling as it was puzzling.

    The simplistic notion that those involved "mutually parted ways" was too good to be true in light of Guiao's pronouncements that he wasn't ready to be sent to pasture in a cozy corporate job.

    And the fact that the team still hasn't appointed a replacement, choosing only an interim coach as the Commissioner's Cup tips off this September 21, only added another layer to the mystery.

    [READ: Adonis Tierra named NLEX interim coach]

    After making several phone calls this past few days, I made a startling discovery.

    The Road Warriors franchise is for sale, multiple sources told SPIN.ph.

    "That's the plan," said a person with knowledge of the situation who refused to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue. He even used the dreaded "F" word and laid bare the challenges that a farm team faces when its top assets are traded and its best player is allowed to flee to Japan.

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    I called NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre for comment but he could not be reached as of post time.

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    MORE FROM SPIN

      If the team is indeed placed on the market, where does NLEX go from here?

      "The first step is to give the PBA a one-conference notice about the reported impending sale," a PBA insider told me in a telephone interview.

      Potential buyers face a stern review of their financial capacity to obtain the franchise as well as their commitment to stay in the league for at least five years. Most importantly, the buyer must not be a product competitor to any current member.

      I CALLED COMMISSIONER WILLIE MARCIAL TO ASK IF NLEX HAD ALREADY SENT A NOTICE OF SALE TO HIS OFFICE BUT KUME WASN'T AVAILABLE.

      Once that notification bell rings, the league office is supposed to place a moratorium on trades to ensure that valuable assets are not just "given away" via lopsided trades to sister teams, which leads to a gross imbalance of power.

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      So what happens to NLEX players if the team sells?

      They can rest easy because the franchise is still obligated to "honor their contracts."

      But the bigger question stands: Why is a super rich bloc such as the MVP group selling?

      One speculation is that they want to cut excess fat. Maintaining a team ain't cheap what with the massive payrolls and bonuses it entails especially during an import-laden conference.

      SEE ALSO
      SEE ALSO

      The supposed sale of NLEX doesn't mean the MVP group can't afford to finance a third team. This only means the company is very prudent with its spending.

      Another angle, I've been told, is that the league is struggling to move game tickets and find sponsors. Long story short, business potentially isn't as robust compared to the good ol' days when leagues in Japan, Korea and Taiwan hadn't existed yet.

      But who knows, maybe the MVP group simply wants to promote parity and welcomes more independent teams to the dance.

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      Apparently, sadly, the Road Warriors are about to pull over.

      It was a delight to watch them try against powerhouse teams from within its group and from the SMC conglomerate.

      The moxie, the tenacity, and the winning spirit that coach Yeng Guiao so boldly embodied will be missed.

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      PHOTO: PBA Images
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