NLEX has informed the PBA that it is no longer pursuing plans to put up an expansion franchise and will instead buy an existing team, the league announced on Monday.
The Metro Pacific Investments Inc.-controlled firms was one of three companies given the green light to put up expansion franchises in the league beginning this season. The two others are Kia Motors and Blackwater Sports.
But the Road Warriors have now formally declined that option by not paying part of the required P100 million franchise fee at the end of the Monday deadline given by Commissioner Chito Salud.
Instead, NLEX management, led by manager Ronald Dulatre and president Rod Franco, has informed the league in writing that it will instead push through with the plan to buy an existing franchise to set the stage for its entry in the pro league.
NLEX informed the league that it is in the process of "finalizing" the acquisition of the member ballclub.
However, NLEX refused to divulge the identity of the team, saying it will only do so at the end of the ballclub's campaign in the ongoing PBA Governors Cup.
"(NLEX) noted that they are in rhe process of finalizing the acquisition of the current member ballclub and will update the league as to further developments within a reasonable period after the last game of the member team in the Governors Cup," the league said in a statement.
Spin.ph has earlier reported that Air21 governor Lito Alvarez is in talks with NLEX officials for the possible sale of the Express to the Manny V. Pangilinan-controlled company.
Still, the league made it clear that even through NLEX's application for an expansion franchise has been approved by the board, its acquisition of an existing team still needs board approval.