TANDUAY Distillers is no longer entertaining the possibility of rejoining the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), according to president and chief executive officer Bong Tan.
And its long-standing corporate war with the San Miguel Group of Companies has something to do with it.
The son of tycoon Lucio Tan, who made a rare appearance at the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup games on Thursday to watch the Boracay Rum Waves play National University-Banco De Oro, was asked the question in the wake of the PBA's decision to open its doors to expansion teams.
However, Tan quickly shook his head. Asked to elaborate, he simply said, “May San Miguel.”
Tanduay Distillers is a sister company of Asia Brewery, a direct competitor of San Miguel Corporation in the beverage industry, although both companies have a stake in Philippine Airlines.
The influx of new talent from the both college and developmental leagues have prompted the PBA to consider adding at least two more teams to the current 10-team field over the next two years.
Commissioner Chito Salud even hinted on Wednesday during the press conference of the league’s 39th season that there are in the middle of talks with "serious prospects."
[For full story, see Salud admits talking to 'serious prospects' as PBA opens doors to expansion teams]
Tanduay was one of the founding PBA teams in 1975 when the company was still owned by the Elizalde family until the franchise disbanded in 1987.
Twelve years after, the company returned to the pro league under the leadership of Bong Tan following a successful stint in the defunct Philippine Basketball League where it won multiple championships.
But the return stint of the company proved short-lived after the team got entangle in a web of controversies, eventually forcing Tan to sell the franchise to Bert Lina and FedEx by the end of the 2001 season.
Boracay Rum coach Lawrence Chongson, a person close to Tan, confirmed there are no talks within the company about the possible return of the Tanduay franchise to the PBA.
“Hindi napag-uusapan,” Chongson said.
Personally, however, the coach said he is open to Tanduay joining the pro league again after its stints in the PBL and being one of the pioneers in the PBA D-League.
“Pero ako, open ako. Ewan ko lang sa management. Pero kung ako lang, open ako,” said Chongson.