MANILA, Philippines - Many times over this PBA franchise has proven that a change of name doesn’t necessarily mean a change of fortune.
“Yes, we’ve been through a lot of changes,” said San Miguel-Purefoods Company president Butch Alejo the other night at the packed 1 Esplanade near the Mall of Asia.
“But our mission remains the same, and that is to keep up with our tradition of winning, excellence and fair play in the PBA,” he added.
It was the unveiling of the franchise’s new name in the PBA which opens its 38th season with the Philippine Cup on Sept. 30 at the Araneta Coliseum.
From the B-Meg Derby Ace Llamados, winner of last year’s Commissioner’s Cup champions, the team will now be known as the San Mig Coffee Mixers.
Since 1988, the team had worn the colors of Purefoods Hotdogs, Purefoods Tender Juicy, Coney Island, Purefoods Oodles, Purefoods Corned Beef, Purefoods Chunky and then BMeg.
They’ve won a total of nine PBA titles in 23 finals appearances – five in the All-Filipino, three in the Governors’ Cup and another in the Commissioner’s Cup.
The team has also gone through a handful coaching changes – from Ramon Fernandez, Baby Dalupan, Ely Capacio, Ding Panganiban, Chot Reyes, Eric Altamirano, Chito Narvasa, Derek Pumaren, Ryan Gregorio, George Gallent and since last year, Tim Cone.
The Mixers are once again hoping that with a new name, a new brand and a relatively new coach, they can keep the winning tradition.
“Many people are not aware that a change of the name is a big marketing move,” said Pardo.
The members of the team, led by two-time MVP James Yap, Jun Simon, Jonas Villanueva and Marc Pingris, and team manager Alvin Patrimonio, were formally introduced to the media.
They all went on stage together with team governor Rene Pardo and San Mig Coffee general manager Allan Castro, and under the bright lights flashed the thumbs-up sign.
“It’s always a great honor to be on stage represent such great organization,” said Cone, who is just one title short of the record 15 held by Dalupan.
“But whether it’s Purefoods or BMeg, we’re here to win for the brand, the organization and the fans. The best marketing we could do is of course to win,” said Cone.
The American mentor who brought the “triangle offense” to the PBA said the coming Philippine Cup will serve as the gauge to their 2013 campaign.
“The All-Filipino is truly, truly the crown jewel. It’s always the hardest to win. And the key to us here is winning our first game (on Oct. 5) against my former team, Alaska,” said Cone.
“You win the others and people say you have the best import or your import played the best, and your locals are dismissed. But you win the All-Filipino and you’re the best in the country,” he added.
“Yes, we’d like to make San Mig Coffee the No. 1 coffee brand in the Philippines,” Alejo said.