Basketball

Air 21 franchise renamed to Barako for next PBA season

Prior to the end of the 36th season of the PBA, the Lina Group of Companies made waves by buying the Barako Bull franchise.

It turns out that it wasn’t just purely a basketball deal, as the conglomerate also purchased a stake in the energy drink company.

And to prove its commitment to the energy drink business, the Bert Lina-owned group has decided to rename its flagship PBA franchise Air 21 to Barako Bull. The old Barako franchise, meanwhile, will carry the name of Shopinas.com, an e-commerce firm headed by Lina’s daughter Sheila.

Manny Alvarez, the erstwhile Air 21 franchise’s representative to the PBA Board of Governors, explained the details of the deal to InterAKTV. The Lina Group now owns 49-percent of the Barako business, which means that the brand can be carried by the firm’s PBA team. Under PBA rules, an owner can use a brand in which it owns at least a 33-percent stake for its team.

As if the rigodon of names weren’t confusing enough, the old Barako Bull franchise carried the moniker Boosters, which is also the nickname of Petron Blaze, the recently-crowned champions of the PBA Governors’ Cup.

Alvarez, however, said that the Barako team won’t use its Boosters tag anymore to avoid further confusion.

“Although magkaiba sila ng bino-boost, yung isa para sa tao, yung isa naman para sa auto, I think we need to come up with a new moniker next season,” said Alvarez.

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