Goodbye Tigers: Coca-Cola sells Powerade PBA franchise to Mikee Romero

AKTV/Paul Ryan Tan

Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. has sold its PBA team, the Powerade Tigers, to a firm headed by Mikee Romero.

The PBA said CCBPI informed the league on Wednesday that “it has finalized the sale and transfer of its Powerade Tigers team franchise to Sultan 900, Inc. which is owned and represented by its chairman and CEO Michael Romero.”

Under league rules, the sale needs to get the approval of a two-thirds vote by the PBA Board of Governors to be allowed.

Romero is a basketball buff who has bankrolled championship teams in the Philippine Basketball League and the ASEAN Basketball League.

Ironically, the Powerade Tigers are coming off a resurgent season highlighted by the team’s Cinderella run in the Philippine Cup.

Repeated denials

News of the transaction comes despite repeated denials from Powerade team executive Ronnie Asuncion about the squad being for sale.

An InterAKTV report earlier last February revealed that management has held talks to sell the franchise to San Miguel Corporation, but both parties said that the sale did not push through.

But speculation about the sale became rife after the team traded away some of its top players to other teams midway through the season. Star rookie Marcio Lassiter was shipped to the Petron Blaze Boosters along with veteran guard Celino Cruz, while starting center Doug Kramer was sent to Barako Bull.

Strong tradition

Romero, meanwhile, is seeking to bring his championship tradition to the PBA. His Harbour Centre/Oracle Residences franchise won seven titles in the PBL, while his AirAsia Philippine Patriots won the inaugural staging of the ABL in 2010.

Apart from basketball, the businessman is also involved in a number of other sports, serving as an official in national cycling and shooting federations.

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