Manny V. Pangilinan isn’t about to give up the NBA dream just yet.
The business tycoon, perhaps the most prominent sports financier in the country, is currently in talks with several NBA franchises for a possible minority stake.
The development comes at the heels of a failed bid for majority ownership of the Sacramento Kings. This time, Pangilinan hopes to acquire a minority stake and build from there.
“There are actually opportunities for five to 10-percent stakes in some teams,” Pangilinan told reporters. “Hindi pa kami kumakagat, (We haven’t agreed yet), but one of these days, I think we will,” he said.
Pangilinan has a sports empire of sorts in the country. He owns two professional teams in the Philippine Basketball Association—Talk ‘N Text and Meralco—and heavily supports the basketball varsity squads of Ateneo and San Beda.
Pangilinan also backs several National Sports Associations under the Philippine Olympic Committee. He heads the basketball association while one of his chief deputies, Ricky Vargas, heads the boxing association, which he chairs. He has thrown his support to the NSAs of badminton, taekwondo, cycling and football.
Pangilinan bankrolls the country’s national basketball team, Smart Gilas Pilipinas, while his MVP Sports Foundation has hosted several big-time international events, including a pair of matches in the country that featured a team made up of NBA all-stars like Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Javale McGee, Tyreke Evans and Derrick Williams.
“We want to learn … how [NBA franchises] run those teams. There are a lot of proposals,” he said.
If given a choice, Pangilinan said he would prefer a team in the United States West Coast, which is just across the Pacific Ocean and closer to the Philippines.
“It’s harder to travel to the East Coast,” Pangilinan explained.
NBA franchises in the league’s Western Conference include last year’s championship runner-up, Oklahoma City Thunder, the Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Portland Trailblazers, LA Clippers, Golden State Warriors, the LA Lakers, and the Phoenix Suns.
The way the league is structured, the top teams from the Western and Eastern Conferences meet in the finals to determine the champion.
Pangilinan, who represents Hong Kong’s First Pacific Co. Ltd. in the Philippines, chairs Manila Electric Co. and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.