IT’S now final.

Meralco will take over the franchise of the former Sta. Lucia Realty, while Petron will now carry the colors of the former B-Meg Derby Ace in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

The PBA board of governors yesterday formally approved the return of Meralco in the professional league following its acquisition of the Realtors franchise, owned by Excequiel Robles.

Documents

PBA commissioner Sonny Barrios said Meralco completed all documents pertaining to the takeover of Sta. Lucia, for an undisclosed amount.

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“We in the PBA are happy to welcome Meralco,” said Barrios after the PBA board meeting.

Both Meralco and Talk ‘n Text are sister teams because Manny V. Pangilinan, who owns Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), also owns 33.3 percent of Meralco shares, according to Barrios.

New PBA board of governors member Ramon Segismundo, who is representing Meralco, also confirmed that they have already signified their intention to hire former Purefoods coach Ryan Gregorio as the Meralco head coach.

Gregorio, whose elder brother Patrick is the head of Smarts Sports, is expected to sign a five-year contract with Meralco not only as head coach but also as head of the company’s basketball operation.

“We chose coach Ryan after a rigorous and systematic process. We have to work very hard to form a team for the coming season. We will hold an organizational meeting to determine who will be our players, as well as the rest of the coaching and management staff,” added Segismundo.

Expired contract

Gregorio’s contract with Purefoods reportedly expired last week.

Meanwhile, the B-Meg Derby Ace formally bowed out of the PBA after its mother company San Miguel Corp. sold the largest food conglomerate to the group of Butch Campos of Del Monte Pacific Ltd. and Ricardo Po of Century Pacific Group of Companies.