MIKEE Romero has just crashed Forbes' list of the 50 richest Filipinos, with a total net worth estimated at US$490 million or about P21 billion in assets from his ports, airline, mining, and hotel businesses.
But the one thing the businessman-sportsman wants most right now, he has yet to get his hands on.
"My dream really is to win a title in the PBA,” the owner of the Globalport team in the pro league told Spin.ph. "Ito na lang ang kulang ko para mabuo na."
The flamboyant Romero has won championships in the old PBL and the Asean Basketball League with his Harbour Center franchise, as well as a Southeast Asian Games title in his capacity as team manager.
But a PBA championship has so far proved elusive for the former De La Salle player, whose pro ballclub has bombed out in its first two conferences in Asia's first play-for-pay league.
Romero knows it won't be easy.
“Ito (PBA title) na lang ang kulang. I know it won't be easy. Pero sana in the next two to three years, manalo na. Small steps, baby steps (muna), sana we'll make it,” said Romero, who is also a world-class polo player.
Romero, at least, is confident his Globalport team is headed in the right direction going into the Governors Cup after a reshuffle that brought in Jay Washington and promising center Yousef Taha as well as free agents Hans Thiele, Marvin Hayes, Chad Alonzo, and Brian Faundo.
More importantly, Romero feels the team's character is starting to take shape.
“Mapapansin mo iba na ang laro ng team namin, papunta na tayo sa sistema na gusto ko. Hindi na ito Powerade (the former Coca-Cola franchise which he bought), Globalport na ang team na ito,” he said while pointing to the Batang Pier's 3-1 record so far in tune-up matches.
“Ang natutuwa ako, lumabas na yung character ng team. Ang physical lumaro, Batang Pier talaga,” he added.
Romero is one of four PBA team owners to make the Forbes list, placing ahead of San Miguel Corp. president Ramon S. Ang (30th, US$260M), Alaska owner Wilfred Uytengsu, Jr. (33rd, US$250M) and PLDT chief Manny V. Pangilinan (50th, US$105M).
Romero said his involvement in sports has gone a long way as far as his success in business is concerned.
“Malaki talaga ang naging role para sa pagpasok ko sa Forbes list ng pagiging sportsman. Kasi it helps my competitiveness,” he said. “Kasi ang sports may goal ka. You need to win a championship. It’s also the same in business.”