The PBA Board of Governors has given Commissioner Chito Salud the go-signal to conduct background checks on the three companies that had expressed interest to join Asia’s first professional league following a meeting yesterday at the PBA Office in Libis, Quezon City.
Kia Car Philippine distributor Columbian Auto Car Corporation, Ever Bilena Cosmetics Inc. (Blackwater Sports), and Metro Pacific Investment Corporation (NLEX) have submitted their respective letter of intent a few days ahead of the board meeting.
The three companies are applying for new franchises in the PBA, which at the moment has 10 member teams. If the applicants pass the requirements and secure board approval, the league will have 13 ballclubs parading for the 40th season in October.
“The process to be followed is clear,” said Salud. “Due diligence on the financial capabilities and determine whether these applicants are capable of maintaining a team in the long range.”
He added: “After that, that’s the only time I can make a formal recommendation on these companies for the board to decide. The time line for the approval for these three applicants would be April of this year.”
This will again be tackled in the board meeting next month.
According to Salud, just like in the past, a PBA applicant needs three-fourths vote or 8 out of 10 members to make it.
Kia and Ever Bilena, chaired by Dioceldo Sy, have already submitted their corporate profiles.
Salud said he would ask NLEX to submit its own corporate profile so that he can start his work in checking if these three can sustain a team for the next five seasons – including the salaries of players, coaching staff and personnel and the P100 million franchise fee upon entry.
On the other hand, the board – chaired by Meralco’s Ramon Segismundo – also discussed the possibility of inviting Gilas Pilipinas as a guest team in the forthcoming Governors’ Cup.
The national team is preparing for the FIBA World Cup in August in Spain and the Asian Games in Incheon, Korea in September.
A decision will be made when the board convenes anew on March 27. (Waylon Galvez)