PERENNIAL D-League champion NLEX has made official its intention to join the PBA.
No less than NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre confirmed the development to Spin.ph a day after he personally submitted the letter of intent to the PBA Commissioner’s Office on Wednesday noon.
“It has been submitted. Yes, we want to elevate the level of this team. Everybody knows naman how successful our run in the D-League is. So I guess, it’s time for us to move up and join the prime league in the country … that’s the PBA,” said Dulatre.
“We firmly believe that the PBA is a good medium to showcase the talent of our players as well as the brand name of our companies under Metro Pacific, Investments,” said the youthful team official.
The jump to the pro ranks seemed a logical next step for the Road Warriors, who have won five of the first six championships contested in the PBA's developmental league.
NLEX is the third team to pass a Letter of Intent to join the pro league after Blackwater Sports and Kia Motors, whose applications are being discussed by the league board at posting time.
If ever, NLEX will become the third team under the MVP group to join the league after Talk 'N Text and Meralco.
Dulatre has long backed the move to bring the Road Warriors to the PBA, having broached the idea to Spin.ph as early as December of 2012.
“Matagal naman nang ripe ang team na ito sa pro ranks. In fact, dapat noon pa. Andami naming players na malalaki dati that we could have brought up,” said Dulatre while naming Ian Sangalang, Gregory Slaughter, Calvin Abueva, Clifford Hodge and Chris Ellis, among others.
“Sa ngayon, we feel we are ready. We still have marquee players in our fold,” he said.
The current core of NLEX is made up of reserve players of the national team under the Gilas cadet program, namely Kevin Louie Alas, Matt Ganuelas, Jakes Pascual, Ronald Pascual and Garvo Lanete.
“If given the chance, we can bring them with us and assure PBA fans that we can immediately compete with the PBA holdovers and the new teams coming in,” bared the soft-spoken team manager who has built and rebuilt the NLEX squad since the D-League began four years ago.
Once accepted into the PBA fold, Dulatre said the Road Warriors plans to carry the colors of Metro Pacific, Investments, which also controls Maynilad, St. Luke’s Hospital and other utilities and services under the Manny V. Pangilinan group.
“Ito ang alam naming medium to help promote the other companies of the group,” said Dulatre.