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Kia seeks PBA nod

Basketball followers were surprised when Columbian Autocar Corporation – the country’s sole manufacturer and distributor of Korean car brand Kia – applied to become an expansion team in the PBA.

What’s puzzling about the possible entry of the automobile company is that it has never involved in any of the basketball leagues in the country, unlike other applicants which have made a name for themselves in the amateur commercial ranks.

PBA Media Bureau chief Willie Marcial told the Bulletin that Columbian’s filing of a letter of intent came as a pleasant surprise although its entry in the pro league needs an approval from the board.

“Nakakagulat at nakakatuwa kasi mga top brass nila ang alam ko mahilig sa basketball,” said Marcial. “Hindi mo aakalain na papasok sila pero siguro nakita nila na ito ang magandang panahon na pumasok sa PBA.”

Columbian Autocar Corporation is owned by Jose “Pepito” Alvarez, a former logger and current Palawan governor. While Alvarez’s company has no direct involvement in basketball, it is known for sponsoring other sports particularly football.

Columbian is sponsoring the Philippine Azkals and its Kia brand is shown on the jersey of United Football League club Global FC.

The application of Columbian came before PBA D-League squad Blackwater of Ever Bilena boss Dioseldo Sy submitted its own letter of intent.

NLEX, which has won five titles in the D-League, is reportedly interested to make the jump in the pros. (Jonas Terrado)