MANILA, Philippines - MPIC-NLEX, with a little chance to form a competitive squad as an expansion team, yesterday decided to take a different route to enter the PBA – purchasing an existing franchise.
Abandoning their original plan to buy expansion rights, the Road Warriors are instead pursuing a deal to take over an old PBA member ball club.
They didn't disclose the identity of the team, but there were talks that NLEX officials are currently negotiating with the Air21 bosses.
“Maganda ang usapan (Negotiations are running smoothly). We’ll disclose things after their final game in the current PBA season,” said NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre in an interview by PTV4.
“They noted that they are in the process of finalizing the acquisition of the current member-ballclub and will update the league as to further developments within a reasonable period after the last game of the member-team in the ongoing Governors’ Cup,” said a PBA statement.
“While the identity of the franchise sought to be acquired was not disclosed, MPIC-NLEX understands that the intended acquisition would have to undergo another round of approval by the Board of Governors,” the statement added.
Yesterday was the final deadline the PBA gave NLEX to decide on its expansion plan.
As NLEX dropped the plan, the PBA enters its 40th season with 12 teams and not 13.
Team Kia and Ever Bilena are the two additions via the PBA’s expansion program with both ballclubs agreeing to pay the league P100 million in franchise fees.