MANNY V. Pangilinan is non-committal on the prospect of NLEX jumping over to the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) after dominating the D-League since its inception.
Pangilinan, chairman of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) where NLEX is one of the subsidiaries, said there are no concrete plans yet for NLEX to move over to the pro league after winning a fifth title in six D-League conferences on Wednesday with a sweep of Big Chill in the best-of-three Finals.
They Said It!
““Kailangang pag-isipan pa. Nasa PBA na rin ‘yun." Business tycoon Manny Pangilinan
Pangilinan, however, admitted joining the PBA had indeed been discussed in passing right by company executives after NLEX won the Aspirants Cup crown.
If ever, the timing for such a move is perfect since the pro league is currently pursuing expansion plans, although the prospect of a third MVP-controlled team joining in may not appeal to some quarters.
“Pinag-usapan nga kanina but it has to go through the approval process,” said Pangilinan shortly after emerging from a jolly NLEX dugout at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Kailangang pag-isipan pa. Nasa PBA na rin ‘yun,” said Pangilinan.
The PBA has bared plans to expand its current 10-team roster, citing the surplus of talent that left most players out of jobs after their playing years in both amateur and college leagues.
So far, Blackwater Sports is the one reportedly dead set on applying for a PBA franchise with talks between management and pro league officials now entering its final stage.
NLEX management has been vocal on the company's intention to join Asia’s pioneering pro league and, possibly, becoming the third franchise under the MVP group after Talk ‘N Text and Meralco.
Pangilinan, however, said NLEX’s jump to the pros should still be studied thoroughly.
“Hindi ko pa alam kasi siyempre, iisipin mo rin ‘yung gastos,” said Pangilinan.
NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez said it’s up to management if the company wants to move to the PBA.
“It is up to the boss (Pangilinan). So kung ano man ang mga desisyon ng mga boss, I will follow. I’m just a good soldier,” said Fernandez.
“I came late because of a Philex meeting. They were up by two, tapos biglang bumulusok. I'm happy with their performance,” said Pangilinan.