Sy zips mouth on sale talk, longtime rival says putting franchise on market was ‘frustration’ move
Raymond Yu, the other half of the affable duo of basketball-crazed businessmen that owns Rain or Shine in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), believes that Dioceldo Sy’s statements when he threatened to put his Blackwater team up for sale was borne out of sheer frustration.
“I know him (Sy) to be a very competitive person ever since our rivalry days in the PBL (Philippine Basketball League),” Yu told the Inquirer over the phone on Thursday night when reached for comment on the Elite boss’ statements that he will put the team up for sale for “at least P150 million.”
“Maybe it’s just frustration on his part, an impulsive reaction,” Yu added of Sy, whose team was fined P100,000 by the commissioner’s office for holding practice way before the allowed reopening of the PBA’s 45th season with individual practices, which has been set only for July 22. “I think the [PBA] board would need to talk to him personally.”
The board will really have a word with Sy, more so after chair Ricky Vargas, who represents TNT in the body, felt offended and questioned Sy’s level of commitment on Thursday after reading the Inquirer report that carried the team owner’s declaration that “we will continue to participate” if he finds no buyers for his franchise.
“His statements are serious matters that he has to deal with in the board,” Vargas said in a separate interview.
‘Better to be quiet’
“You just don’t come out and say that, because the board needs to know it, and approve of it first.”
Sought for comment after the fine was handed out, Sy wasn’t as vocal this time.
“I think it’s better to be quiet now,” Sy said.
Aside from the fine, commissioner Willie Marcial also ordered all of Sy’s players to undergo COVID-19 swab testing and go on a seven-day quarantine even if found to be negative. Positive results would mean following Department of Health protocols.
“I hope that the league won’t be jeopardized [by Blackwater’s actions] because that’s what we’re afraid of,” Marcial said in Filipino.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the league to come up with strict health guidelines to be followed now that training is allowed. But since the training period hasn’t officially started, it isn’t clear exactly what safety protocols were put in place during the unauthorized Blackwater practice.
Not right time
A separate sanction from the Games and Amusements Board—the body that regulates pro sports in the country—is also coming, which was probably why Sy lost his cool on Wednesday night and asked why he would be sanctioned for something “which is a nonissue as far as I am concerned.”
While Sy’s outburst resulted in a price tag on his franchise, Vargas said that selling Blackwater is not that simple because “we need to approve first who the buyer will be. It’s like a golf club membership, you cannot just come in and expect the members to approve of you.”
And that’s not the only thing that would make selling a franchise difficult.
“Business-wise, it’s not the right time to sell,” Yu said, acknowledging the effects of the pandemic on the economic and business climate.
As a team owner, Yu has had his share of being fined in the past when the Elasto Painters were slapped a P2-million penalty by the league for their aborted walkout against San Mig Coffee in Game 6 of the Philippine Cup Finals in 2014. Yu and fellow owner Terry Que coughed up that amount and didn’t say anything after that.
“Masakit sa bulsa, syempre (It hurt our pockets, of course),” Yu said with a laugh. “But we knew that it was the right amount [for our actions], the right decision [by the commissioner]. We had to accept that because we are part of a collegial body. We need to abide by the regulations and policies, otherwise, magkakagulo tayo (we’ll end up muddling things).”
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