Monday, February 20, 2012



Coca-Cola is staying put in the PBA.

In the special Board of Governors meeting Monday, Powerade’s acting Governor, Ronald Asuncion,
finally shed light on the franchise’s reported sale to San Miguel Corp. for a staggering amount of P100 million that sent shockwaves in and around the league.

“Basically, we wanted to clarify that no sale has been made. The Powerade Tigers continue to be
under the ownership, management and control of Coca-Cola Bottlers, Phils., Inc.,” said Asuncion,
the company’s procurement director.

Asked on how long they intend to stay in the PBA, Asuncion replied:

“As long as it takes to win a championship.”

“I cannot be totally honest that I am biased because I think we will win this next conference,
said Asuncion.”But by no means misconstrue it as an eagerness to exit the league. It’s just an
eagerness to win the championship.”

Asuncion became acting governor of Powerade after JB Baylon, who has been the governor of the
franchise since it entered the league in 2002, resigned last Friday. Baylon’s resignation takes
effect on Feb. 29.

But even without the franchise’s sale, commissioner Chito Salud vetoed the proposed trade that
would have shipped MVP contender Marcio Lassiter of Powerade for two sparingly-used Petron Blaze

Under the original pact submitted to the Commissioner’s Office, Lassiter, who came in third in
statistical points in the Philippine Cup Best Player of the Conference derby, is to be traded by the Tigers to the Boosters for Noy Baclao and Rey Guevarra, the No. 1 and No. 3 picks in the 2011 PBA Draft, respectively.

Baclao and Guevarra, though, have been fielded rarely by Petron ever since they were acquired along with Rabeh Al-Hussaini for Dondon Hontiveros, Danny Seigle, Dorian Pena and Paul Artadi in a blockbuster trade last season.

“Upon evaluation of the trade that is now before my office, I am exercising my right as
Commissioner to veto the trade, return the trade (proposal) to the parties concerned for possible revisions to make it more balanced,” Salud said.

And this early, a number of options have already popped up.

A source who refused to be identified said that Petron is willing to let go of Rabeh Al-Hussaini for Lassiter in a one-on-one trade. The source also mentioned that the Boosters are ready to release three players – Carlo Sharma, Lordy Tugade, and Mark Agustin for the former Smart-Gilas player,but flatly rejected the idea of a Baclao-Joseph Yeo deal for Lassiter.

Those who attended the meeting were Chairman Mamerto Mondragon (Rain or Shine), Non, Asuncion,
Joaqui Trillo (Alaska), Patrick Gregorio (Talk ‘N Text), Mon Segismundo (Meralco), Ely Capacio
(Petron), Rene Pardo (B-Meg), Atty. Ernie Dinopol (Barako Bull) and Sheila Lina (Air21).

Now that the supposed Powerade sale has been explained to the Board and the

trade deal vetoed, Salud has decided that it is time to craft new rules intended to avoid a similar mess that mushroomed from the SMC-Powerade rumors.

“The operative word before the Board can take action on any franchise sale is consummation,”
said Salud. “A sale between an existing team member to a third party will be brought to the
attention of the Board, the Board will be convened to approve or reject the said sale and it
requires the vote of two-thirds of the Board.

“Now, where do all these speculations and concerns of unloading of players in contemplation of a
trade in the future come from? It comes from a loophole in our rules because there are no rules that cover the gap between the intention to sell and the actual notice sent to the PBA.

“That's why our Board has agreed that during the next Board meeting, the Commissioner will be
proposing rules precisely to cover that lag, that vacuum and together, collectively, we will
formulate rules to avoid the unloading or trading of players in contemplation of a sale.” (ZM)