PHOENIX Petroleum has assured it will leave no stone unturned in forming a competitive team in the PBA following their acquisition of Barako Bull franchise.
Raymond Zorilla, Phoenix vice-president for external affairs, said the first order of business is to retain the coaches led by Koy Banal as well as the players for the Mindanao-based petroleum company's debut in the pro league in the Commissioner’s Cup slated to open on February 10.
“The management has decided that with the acquisition of the franchise, we will remain status quo including the players and the coaches,” the lawyer said in an interview with reporters after he watched Phoenix Petroleum’s debut game in the PBA D-League.
“No trades muna and only key positions in management will obviously be replaced,” Zorillla said.
On Monday, Zorilla was joined by Banal and UAAP board member Anton Montinola of Far Eastern University, which has a tie-up with Phoenix Petroleum in the PBA D-League.
Zorilla, however, said eventually the squad will not hesitate to make trades that will be for the good of the team after assuming control of a ballclub that, in its final years, had faced accusations of being a 'farm team' owing to a series of controversial and questionable trades.
“Usually, one primordial consideration is what is best for the team. In any league, it’s always what’s best for the team, kung ano ang maganda para sa team, sa liga, at para sa kumpanya.
"We will assess all offers — trade and player movements — as long as we base it on our conditions na it’s for the good of the team, for the good of the league, and for the good of the company,” said Zorilla.
Zorilla said the team will begin practicing on Tuesday, and meetings will eventually be held for aspects related to the squad including the moniker the balllcub will carry.
“They will be practicing tomorrow (Tuesday) and they will play a tune-up on Wednesday. We intend to talk to them by that time,” he said.
Zorilla said the company is happy that, after several years, it has finally made it to the PBA.
“It’s a dream come true. We have been knocking on the door for more than five years, if I’m not mistaken. Opportunity doesn’t knock twice so we will make the most out of it. We are happy in the PBA,” said Zorilla.
Zorilla said he likes the potential of the team which Phoenix inherited from Barako Bull.
“The core team, if I’m not mistaken, were fighting for a spot in the semifinals. They lost by a point in the quarterfinals. That’s why we are keeping the team intact. We hope to have the right import. Then, we will take it from there,” he said.