THE ill effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have claimed an unsuspecting PBA victim in Columbian Dyip.
Like practically all the other car dealerships, Columbian’s mother company, Autocar Corp., was struck hard by the virus-caused nationwide lockdowns, forcing the Dyip to transfer ownership of the PBA franchise to its sister company, Terrafirma Realty Development Corp.
The transfer, bared by PBA Vice Chair and Columbian representative Bobby Rosales, was approved, at least in principle, by the PBA Board last Wednesday.
“This afternoon, I submitted a letter request to the board on behalf of the Columbian Autocar Corp. which owns the PBA franchise. The request is to transfer the franchise to the sister company … Terrafirma Realty Development Corp. Both companies are owned and controlled by [Palawan] Gov. Jose Alvarez,” said Rosales.
PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas said the move was approved by the board. “They satisfy all requirements of our constitution,” he said.
“They (just) need to submit just two or three more documents. But the Board approved the change in ownership name.”
Rosales said Terrafirma owns the assembly plant of all the vehicles carried by the Columbian group of companies of Alvarez.
According to Rosales, the transfer was made after top management decided to streamline operations.
Rosales did not divulge any figure on how the pandemic cost Autocar, but an informed source said lost revenues could run up to millions, a bleeding that should stretch up to the coming months.
“With the government now encouraging the use of bicycles and more car-pooling and the like, siguradong magiging mahina pa rin ang sales ng mga sasakyan ng Columbian,” said the source.
“Hindi lang naman Columbian, pero siyempre taga-PBA kaya we feel sad for their plight and hope na maka-recover sila.”
Rosales said the team will most likely retain the Dyip moniker but admitted he does not yet know for how long.
“Most probably, we will be retaining the name of the Dyip but of course, we can change that. Wala lang Columbian. It might be Terrafirma Dyip,” said Rosales.
Then known as Kia, the franchise and Blackwater joined the PBA as expansion teams before the start of the 2014-15 season with boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao as playing coach.
The team, which was also known as the Carnival, Mahindra Enforcer, Mahindra Floodbuster, and Kia Picanto adopted Columbian Dyip in 2018 but has so far realized only one playoffs appearance.
In an earlier interview, coach Johnedel Cardel has said he is hoping the team’s luck would now change for the better with a new leader in last season’s Best Rookie and scoring champion CJ Perez.