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Does GAB intervene in pro team sale? Chairman Mitra answers

Blackwater's PBA franchise could be up for sale soon. PBA Images (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--One major concern in owning a professional sports team is on how to maintain it in the long run financially.

Even the so-called "mightiest" teams can disband in a flash if they only have a few bucks left in their war chests.

Toyota and Crispa, the "poster kids" of the PBA's primitive days due to their intense rivalry that netted them a combined 22 of the first 27 championships on the line, had to give up their franchises as the political turmoil late into the Marcos administration hit them economically.

The Tamaraws were the first to fold up after the 1983 season, selling their club to Asia Brewery, which renamed them Beer Hausen and later Manila Beer.

The Redmanizers followed suit after the 1984 season despite making the finals in their last conference, selling their franchise to Shell.

The Brewmasters folded after three seasons without finding a new owner to their franchise, while the Turbo Chargers left the PBA after 20 seasons and sold theirs to Rain Or Shine.

Last week, reigning PFL champion Ceres Negros shocked the football community after announcing that team owner Leo Rey Yanson is giving up its franchise and is now looking for new investors.

[Related Story: Ceres Negros to look for new investors]

On the other hand, Dioceldo Sy dropped a bomb on Wednesday when he said that he is now considering to put the franchise of the Blackwater Elite on sale for PHP150 million.

With two clubs on the verge of having new ownership, what is the Games and Amusements Board doing with such franchise selling?

According to GAB chairman Baham Mitra, selling a franchise is more of a business matter, so despite his office overseeing the professional leagues and in turn their member teams, he would just let those who are orchestrating the deal do their job.

"Ayaw naming makialam kasi corporate yan," the former Palawan governor said.

However, Mitra wants an assurance from the club owners, especially those who have newly acquired one whether through expansion or buying an existing squad, that they are paying their players accordingly.

"As long as the new owners provide players their timely salaries and some incentives, then we're OK. Pero kapag nahuhuli na yung mga sweldo, dyan na kami papasok," he further said.

Happy for Ceres Negros

Meanwhile, Mitra said that he is glad that someone is stepping in to take over the now embattled PFL squad.

"I'm happy that there are new investors in Ceres," Mitra said regarding the development, which stemmed from Yanson's row against his siblings regarding the ownership of the Vallacar Transit.

Mitra added, "That's another new player in Philippine football. I'm sure it's going to be very good kasi doon siya sa number one team magi-invest."

The new owners are set to inherit the hottest team in Southeast Asian football right now, although maintaining the core is now a different story as some of its players are bidding farewell to the old management on social media.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_