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    Strange silence as wheels slow to turn in Kia Motors' bid to put together PBA team

    May 1, 2014
    Officials of Columbia Autocar Corp. have been silent since its application for a PBA franchise was approved by the PBA board two weeks ago. Snow Badua

    IT'S been two weeks since the company's application for a PBA franchise has been approved, but no word has yet to come out of the Columbia Autocar Corp. camp.

    The strange silence has naturally baffled players and agents alike.

    “They are very, very silent. People want to know. Di ko nga alam kung ano na ang plano nila,” said player agent Caloy Allado of the people behind the PBA bid of Columbia Motors, the distributors of Kia in the country.

    “Kumukuha ako ng (information sa) PBA pero wala rin silang maibigay sa akin (about Kia),” he added. “I am just wondering why even the PBA has no idea. Dun ako kumukuha ng info pero wala sila. It’s strange."

    Since Kia has been given the green light to join the league, Allado expected the Korean car company and its local distributor to have made announcements by now on their plans, or at least the people behind those plans.

    “I am pretty sure the public wants to know right now who the manager would be," Allado said. "Look at NLEX and Blackwater Sports, andami na nilang announcements, madami na tayong alam sa kanila."

    Allado found it strange that since the interview Columbia head Ginia Domingo gave prior to the approval of the company's PBA application, nothing has been heard from the company with regards to its participation in the pro league.

    “Kia surprised everbody when they just came in (to apply for a PBA franchise) and now, they leave everybody guessing,” added the father of veteran PBA big man Don Allado.

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    Another well-known player agent, Danny Espiritu, said he is also waiting for word from Kia officials regarding their plans on the acquisition of players.

    “May lumapit sa akin once, nagtanong lang ng list ng free agents ko. Hindi ko pa nga naibibigay kasi ni hindi ko pa nakikita yung kausap ko uli,” he said.

    “Wala pa talagang movement ang Kia, except dun sa pagtawag sa akin nung isa nilang tao,” added Espiritu, who handles the careers of more 120 players, 68 of them actively playing in the pro league.

    Espiritu also shared the sentiment of Allado, who finds Kia's silence quite mysterious.

    “Nahihiwagaan ako sa kanila, syempre at this point in time kailangan very visible na sila," he said. "May mga tauhan man lang sana silang nanonood ng PBA, ngayon wala akong nakikita.

    “Pero malay natin baka may nanonood, hindi lang natin alam. Pero dapat may kaunting pakitang gilas na sila para yung player magka-interest din sa kanila.

    “I think they should start contacting agents and players para malaman na kung ano ang balak nila. Kasi kami wala pang alam tungkol sa kanila, kailangan maging visible, ngayon nga di ko alam kung sino kakausapin.”

    The silence has inevitably raised fears regarding the company's commitment to form a team.

    “If that happens (pullout), I won’t be surprised na they’d pull out. But hopefully they won’t. But it is an eerie silence. We don’t know,” Allado said.

    However, PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial was quick to give the assurance that Kia officials are in constant touch with PBA officials and have no plan on turning their back on the league.

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    “In constant communication naman sila. May kausap na ako sa Kia," said Marcial. "Hindi magpu-pull out 'yan, tuloy sila.”

    Asked about the company's eerie silence, Marcial said: “Eh kasi ganoon naman talaga ang kultura ng Kia, hindi basta-basta nagsasalita hangga’t hindi pa settled ang lahat. Maingat talaga sila.”

    A source from Kia Motors, meanwhile, told that the team is currently in negotiations with former Adamson and San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria to handle the team in its debut season.

    But no final agreement has so far been reached as Columbia Motors is still completing the list of its management team which the source hopes would be finalized by next week at the latest.

    The same Kia insider told that they've also negotiated with Joel Banal and Bong Ramos, but the two veteran coaches are also in talks with San Mig and Barangay Ginebra, respectively.

    A list of players, mostly Ateneo alumni, have already been contacted by Kia Motors, the souce added.

    “Next week pa talaga mafo-formalize ang lahat. Next week pa kasi magkakasarahan ng kontrata yung management team na kinakausap. Sa ngayon wala pang basketball figures dito sa amin,” said the source.

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    Officials of Columbia Autocar Corp. have been silent since its application for a PBA franchise was approved by the PBA board two weeks ago. Snow Badua
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