MIKEE Romero finally has a PBA team he can truly call his own. And certainly, this one didn’t come cheap.
A person close to Romero revealed that close to P100 million will be spent by the young, aggressive businessman-sportsman in the acquisition of the Powerade Tigers franchise in the pro league.
Initially, Romero was willing to shell out P60 million as standard fee for acquiring a new league franchise. But the amount has almost doubled since the son of Reghis Romero is obtaining a team lock, stock and barrel, according to the same source.
Although Romero doesn’t have any problem acquiring a new franchise, he earlier intimated in a talk with spin.ph his desire of buying an existing team, which would be easier to rebuild.
“Mas gusto ko na `yun at least meron na siyang core,” Romero said.
On Monday he got his wish as Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. formally informed the PBA the completion of the sale and transfer of the Powerade team to Sultan 900 Inc., the company owned, represented, and chaired by Romero.
In a statement, the Commissioner’s Office said, “it will convene the Board of Governors to secure the approval of two-thirds of its membership at the soonest possible time after the requisite documents from the parties have been secured and due diligence required under the constitution of the PBA has been completed by the Commissioner.”
The transaction was completed almost a month since Romero met with Commissioner Chito Salud to make known his intention of joining the league come its 38th season this September.
Romero is unavailable for comment as he is currently in London for the 30th Olympiad. The businessman is also president of the Philippine National Shooting Association (PNSA) and travelled to the Games to support skeet shooter Brian Rosario.
The same source said there will definitely be some house-cleaning in the current Powerade roster once Romero takes over the team that reached the Finals of the Philippine Cup.
But the Romero aide hinted young players JV Casio and Sean Anthony are among those being eyed as possible trade baits with other teams, especially with the rookie draft just three weeks away.
The Harbour Centre Inc., owner twice had a brief fling with the PBA in the past as part owner of Burger King in partnership with Bert Lina, and then in a co-branding deal with Barako Bull – both of which didn’t last an entire season.
But following the acquisition of the Powerade franchise, Romero now has the tools and materials to be competitive the way his multi-titled team Harbour Centre did in the defunct Philippine Basketball League, and later, his Philippine Patriots in the Asean Basketball League.