AN official of Phoenix Petroleum said the company has shelved its bid to join the PBA for the time being after the pro league welcomed three new teams to its fold.
Phoenix Petroleum vice president for corporate affairs Raymond Zorilla told Spin.ph that becoming part of the 40-year-old league is no longer a priority of the Mindanao-based petroleum company at the moment.
It will be recalled that Phoenix's bid to join the pro league by way of the acquisition of the Barako Bull franchise fell short by one vote when it was deliberated upon by the PBA board in 2011.
Three years later, Phoenix's hope for a PBA franchise was revived when one of three San Miguel Corp.-owned teams, Petron, reverted to the San Miguel Beer name.
However, just weeks ago it was Columbia Autocar Corp. (Kia), Blackwater Sports, and Metro Pacific Investments (NLEX) which got the nod of the board to join the league as expansion franchises.
“Siguro ngayon wala na muna. Ang dami nang teams eh,” admitted Zorilla, who failed to conceal his feeling following the approval of the applications of the three expansion franchises.
“And it wasn’t offered to us while the intention (of luring in new teams) was there. Yun lang naman ang amin.”
But make no mistake about it, the youthful lawyer and company executive said the firm is definitely not ruling out joining the PBA in the future.
“Ay hindi naman, siguro it will now have to take a backseat. We will channel all other possible resources to other sports,” he said.
“(The arrival of the new teams) is part of the ballgame. There are those who are willing to be accepted and are favored.
“Swerte naman sila (the expansion teams) and we congratulate all of them. At least they will get to experience something that we haven’t experienced (playing in the PBA),” he added.
Asked if Phoenix would still be willing to apply in the event the PBA comes calling, Zorilla said the company will definitely think things over.
“Hmmm… Well, sabi nga natin, we’ll cross the bridge when we get there. If it’s offered, why not? If our resources can afford it, okay lang sa atin,” he said.
And does Phoenix have the resources?
“It’s a matter of budgeting lang and as in any other endeavor, it’s a matter of budgeting and trying to project the possible cost,” he said.
Zorilla also made it clear Phoenix has the ability to pay the P100 million franchise fee required to all expansion teams.
“Kaya naman `yun.”