4th of July Final Call

On: 20 July 2010

Sta. Lucia Realtors

Is it now safe to say that the Sta. Lucia Realtors played their farewell game last 4 July 2010? It was a losing cause from the opening tip with no fiery and explosive celebration of independence from a league dominated by skyrocketing salaries just to sell beer, gin, hotdogs, electronic load and milk. This is not to mention the unproven but very obvious violation of the league's salary cap. Instead it was a game of desperation highlighted by poor shooting night (26-for-86) or a conference-low of 30.2 percent.

Their opponents knew that this is the mindset of the Realtors that night and they struck hard. The Coca-Cola Tigers fired from all angles and over the lazy arms of the Realtors to stretch the lead to a commanding 75-57. The outcome became clear from that point on even if the Realtors tried to fight back to within seven points.

Everyone expected this. It was just a matter of time. It was surprising though that the league let this happen to a real estate company who stood with them since 1993. The green jersey doesn't have an once of fight left when the 2010 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Fiesta Cup started and nobody doubts that it can't put up anything in the succeeding conference at the rate its stocks tumbled in the market.

So what is there left to do?

The public did not get any clear indication from either the SLR management or league officials of things to come. They were left reading between the lines and picking up rumors left and right regarding the fate of this once proud franchise.

But signs are filtering out. Former players are speaking up, although not intentionally. The team is stripping itself bare by shipping championship-caliber players in exchange for cash, financial cap and aging ballers. No major renovation work is being planned. No wrecking ball is flying their way to initiate the overhaul.

The signs point to one direction only. The Realtors are disbanding and are willing to entertain possible buyers.

There are no certified stars left on the team. And when you have Ali Peek as your local highest-scorer, then that means the final curtain is going down. If anybody thinks that the 6'9" aging behemoth Marlou Aquino can join Peek as the modern-day twin towers, then they deserve a dose of reality.

Sta. Lucia is on its way out. Sources have already identified one of its most ardent suitors, Meralco. The final buzzer hollered and the permanent retirement of a franchise is unmistakable inside the Big Dome on that fateful 4th of July.

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