Have we seen the last of the Powerade Tigers, the basketball team of Coca-Cola in the PBA?
Even Tigers coach Bo Perasol doesn’t know what the future holds for the squad.
“It hasn’t been discussed yet,” Perasol told InterAKTV. “We would like to know what the management’s plans are. We would like to know whether or not there will still be a Powerade team in the PBA next season.”
Asuncion, according to Perasol, is currently in Mexico to meet officials of Coca-Cola FEMSA, which is in talks to buy Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc., which owns the Tigers.
Coke FEMSA has entered into a 12-month deal with the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola company to explore the possibility of acquiring Philippines unit last February.
Powerade had a magical Philippine Cup campaign, crashing the finals as an eighth-seed. But while the team was having its Cinderella run, the squad made several controversial player transactions.
InterAKTV reported last February that Coca-Cola’s PBA franchise had been offered for sale to San Miguel Corporation last November. Despite denials by Powerade management that a sale has been consummated, the Tigers decided to trade away several key players, including star rookie Marcio Lassiter and starting center Doug Kramer.
Asuncion remained firm that Powerade will stay in the PBA, shrugging off talks of sale of Coca-Cola’s PBA franchise.
But even Perasol, who has an offer to coach the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the UAAP next season, is not sure if the team will stay in the league.
PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial told InterAKTV on Monday that the league has yet to receive notice that Coke’s PBA franchise is up for sale.
“Wala namang notice, but they have to tell us beforehand if they will be staying in the PBA o ibebenta yung franchise. We assume that they’re staying because wala pa rin naman silang binibigay na notice,” Marcial said in a telephone interview.
One potential buyer of the squad is Mikee Romero, whose Global Port company has expressed interest in joining the PBA by either applying for an expansion squad or buying an existing franchise.