Any takers for Blackwater franchise? Here’s one, for now

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    DID the plan of Dioceldo Sy to sell the Blackwater franchise for P150 million fan the hopes of AMA Online Senior High’s bid to join the pro league?

    Kings coach Mark Herrera admitted they are interested but said he needs to know and work on the details of a possible deal.

    Herrera added that AMA Group of Companies founder, owner, and chairman, Ambassador Dr. Amable R. Aguiluz V has the final say due to the financial repercussions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “Before mangyari itong pandemic, nagse-set ako ng meeting with Commissioner Willie Marcial,” Herrera told Malaya-Business Insight yesterday.

    “Financially, hindi ko pa alam if ganoon pa rin (still interested to join the PBA) dahil sa pandemic, apektado ang lahat, including us na isang private school,” he added.

    In 2017, AMA Senior High, then known as the AMA Online Education Titans, sent a letter of intent to join the PBA.

    Back then, there were negotiations between AMA and former Commissioner Chito Narvasa until the latter resigned and was replaced by Marcial, according to Herrera.

    Herrera, also the sports director of AMA University, said it is the fervent desire of Aguiluz, a Crispa fan, to move from the PBA D-League to the PBA.

    “Pupunta muna ako sa PBA to ask details kasi gagawa ako ng formal letter para kay boss Amable Aguiluz. Kailangan siyempre kumpleto iyong details kapag nag-present ako,” explained Herrera.

    “Hindi naman puwedeng parang kuwentuhan lang na, ‘boss, for sale iyong Blackwater franchise for P150 million. ‘Even iyong presyo na iyon, hindi lang naman basta P150 million iyon.”

    Herrera said Aguiluz wanted three years ago to join the PBA as an expansion ballclub.

    “Dati, ang sabi niya (Aguiluz) gusto niya ay sariling players niya,” said Herrera.

    “Ang sabi ko naman, mas mura yata kapag may ibenebentang team pero sabi niya wala namang problema doon.”

    The Aspirants’ Cup was suspended indefinitely since March 11 with only eight games played at the start of the government-imposed lockdown to stem the spread of the lethal virus.

    Marcial said last July 14 that the fate of the season-opening tourney will be decided next month.

    The green light for the drastically disrupted Aspirants’ Cup hinges largely on the rules that will be set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases and how the teams will comply, according to Herrera.

    “Para sa akin, depende sa rules na ibibigay ng IATF, kung kaya naman sundin ng teams, why not?” said Herrera.

    “Ang AMA kasi is fully paid na (participation fee) and sayang (if the D-League season gets cancelled for good).”

    Last July 3, the IATF gave the nod for PBA and Philippines Football League teams to resume training but the go-signal did not include the amateurs and semi-pros.

    Ten of the 11 teams in the Aspirants’ Cup are school-based squads.

    AMA Online Senior High is bidding to reach the semifinals for the first time since joining the D-League in 2014.

    Metro Manila and most parts of the country have been placed under the more relaxed general community quarantine last June 1, but recreational basketball games remain prohibited.