Wednesday, February 1, 2012

News Update Coca-Cola franchise folding up?

MANILA, Philippines - Powerade, runner-up in the PBA Philippine Cup, may be on the way out following reports that its owner, Coca-Cola Bottlers Inc., may be pulling out of the PBA in line with the new shift in its marketing thrust in the country. Reports in PBA circles say Coca-Cola Bottlers Inc. has put the franchise up for sale with the intention to leave the league soon. Powerade top official JB Baylon admitted there has long been “a tension” within the company but denied an exit plan. “Coca-Cola Bottlers is the franchise owner. I asked their lawyer of the sale, and he said there’s none. Matagal na yang tension na yan sa amin,” said Baylon in a text message to The STAR. Baylon said it has been an issue from the start or since Coca-Cola took over the Pop Cola franchise. The team used to be under the giant SMC group until it was ceded to Coca-Cola International. The team is to take its turn to assume the chairmanship of the PBA board next year. Baylon, the in-coming chair, plans to bring the board to their Atlanta headquarters in September. Baylon is taking the issue in stride, expressing great excitement on the prospect of another good run in the second conference. The PBA Commissioner’s Cup starts Feb. 10 with Barako Bull up against Alaska Milk and B-Meg pitted against Meralco on opening day. The first weekend double-header on Feb. 12 features Alaska against Rain or Shine and Petron Blaze versus Barangay Ginebra. Talk n Text opens its title defense on Feb. 17 against Meralco. Air21 won’t see action in the tourney until Feb. 19, given some leeway by the Commissioner’s Office since the team will still await Marcus Douthit’s completion of his tour of duty in China. For the Tigers, it’s hard not to be upbeat for the coming tourney following their Cinderella ride in the Philippine Cup and their acquisition of prized import Dwayne Jones. Coach Bo Perasol believes they’ve built chemistry, confidence and competitiveness that make them a title contender. For all their handicaps, the Tigers carved an incredible feat in the Philippine Cup, defying tall odds to finish second behind eventual champion Talk n Text. They went all the way to the finals though barely making the playoffs, upsetting B-Meg in the quarterfinals and Rain or Shine in the semifinals. The Tigers survived no less than four knockout matches in their stirring playoff run that earned them respect and accolades from their peers and foes. “The Tigers had a run which befits their team – young, scrappy talented. With a big import, they’ll be very, very tough in the second conference,” said Talk n Text coach Chot Reyes. The Tigers are just taking a weeklong rest and will return to the training camp Monday. They’ll be back in action in the second conference with 6-foot-11 Jones, a five-year NBA veteran with stints with the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Charlotte Bobcats and the Phoenix Suns. Jones is a huge inside presence who led the NBA Developmental League in rebounds in 2005 with an average of 11.7 while playing for the Florida Flame. He then also led the league in offensive rebounds (4.5) and placed third in blocks (2.0). A product of Saint Joseph’s, the Morgantown, West Virginia native has had his experience of international plays, having played in Belgrade, China, Turkey and Puerto Rico. Jones was signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves as an undrafted rookie free agent on Aug. 26, 2005. Without a single official appearance for the Wolves, Jones was traded to the Boston Celtics on Jan. 27, 2006, along with Michael Olowakandi, Wally Szczerbiak and a future first-round draft choice, in exchange for Marcus Banks, Mark Blount, Ricky Davis, Justin Reed and two future conditional second-round draft choices. He played 14 games for the Celtics during the season, averaging 1.0 points and 2.2 rebounds with a season high seven points. Jones was traded to the Cavaliers on Oct. 13, 2006, in exchange for Luke Jackson, and appeared in four regular season games. In his first full season as an NBA player in 2007-08, Jones averaged 1.0 point and 2.0 rebounds in 56 games. In September 2008, Jones was signed by the Orlando Magic to play in the team’s training camp, but was released before the season started. He then signed with Turkish league club Efes Pilsen SK. - By Nelson Beltran