THE decision of NLEX to scrap its plan to form an expansion team will enhance the chance of the two other new PBA teams, Blackwater Sports and Kia Motors, to form competitive lineups for their debuts next season.
This was the assessment of Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy, who looks forward to having one less rival to contend with when it scouts around for free agent talent beginning with the dispersal draft next month.
"Hindi na kami nagulat 'nung di sila tumuloy. Kami naman, tinignan na lang namin yun positives," said Sy. "Tulad nito, 'yung free agent market at dispersal draft, imbes na divided by three, dalawa na lang kami ng Kia na maghahati (sa talent na available).
"Mas madali ngayon kasi pwede na kaming mag-usap na lang ng diretso," added the Ever Bilena Cosmetics president, a close friend of Pepito Alvarez, owner of Columbia Autocar Corporation, the exclusive distributor of Kia vehicles in the country.
Sy also bared that with NLEX junking its expansion team plans in favor of buying an existing franchise, the chance of Blackwater and Kia to form a competitive roster just got better.
PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial insisted that despite the pullout of NLEX, the dispersal draft will still push through on July 18.
"Tuloy 'yun. Hindi pwedeng hindi ituloy 'yun. Andyan pa naman ang Kia at Blackwater Sports," said the amiable league official.
Meanwhile, Sy declared that they will no longer seek additional concession from the board despite being deprived of direct-hire privileges or high rookie draft picks.
"Kahit dalawa na lang kami ng Kia, okay na kami 'dun sa binigay ng PBA. Mag-uusap lang siguro kami para mas maayos kami makabuo ng team," said Sy.
"Hindi na kami hihingi pa siguro ng direct hire o kung anuman. Ewan ko lang sa Kia kung hihingin nila direct hire si Manny (Pacquiao). Basta kami kung ano ang andyan, ready kami to take the challenge," he said.
Meanwhile, Blackwater Sports will hold another set of tryouts on Tuesday (June 24) and Thursday (26) from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the SGS Gym in Araneta Avenue, Quezon City.
Blackwater Sports coach Leo Isaac bared that they will welcome free agents and aspiring draftees who would want to show their skills this early.
"Open 'yun sa mga free agent at rookies na gusto nang magpasikat. Kasi kailangan din nila 'yun dahil malapit na ang draft. Atleast masisilip na sila ng tao," said Isaac of the tryouts, which he said will be open to media and fans.
Asked if it will be as high profile like the ones supervised by Pacquiao for Kia last month, Isaac responded with a laugh.
"Hindi naman tayo ganun ka high profile. Tryout lang talaga ito para sa mga gustong maglaro sa PBA o 'yung gustong magka-chance sa Blackwater," he said.