NBA

Photo shows officials, sponsors and team owners of the Philippine Mavericks during Season 2 of the IPTL. They are, from left, Christopher John Quimpo, Smart sports marketing; Gary Dujali, VP and head of PLDT home marketing; Edgar Tejerero, president, SM lifestyle entertainment; Abhishek Ponia, VP for operations, IPTL; Jean Henri Lhuillier, team manager and co-owner of Mavericks, and Haresh Hiranand and Kevin Belmonte also co-owners of the Mavericks.

Philippine Mavericks out of IPTL Season 3
(The Philippine Star) - December 8, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Owners of the Philippine Mavericks pulled out of this year’s International Premier Tennis League Season 3, citing IPTL’s failure to honor its previous commitment to the team and the league internal problems.

The group, owned by an international consortium locally led by businessmen Jean Henri Lhuillier, Haresh Hiranand, Kevin Belmonte and the SM Group, decided to skip this year’s staging of the event which features the world’s top players in a novel format during a meeting at the Manila Polo Club recently where they also drew up plans for the Mavericks in 2017.

They said they’re happy with their decision not to allow the IPTL to hold an event in Manila this year, forcing the IPTL to trim its regular five-leg circuit to three for Season 3.

Originally, the Philippines was still part of IPTL Season 3 but certain commitments by the league to the Phl Mavericks franchise for the previous season were not met, forcing the team owners to skip this year’s IPTL staging.

The IPTL also announced its Season 3 schedule and tickets selling date only last month while assuring that Roger Federer and Serena Williams would play in India.

But the league yesterday said that Federer and Williams would not suit up, frustrating the fans and ticket-buyers.

“This is the exact situation that the Philippine Mavericks was trying to avoid as we knew there were so many internal problems within the IPTL organization this year,” said Lhuillier.

He also dispelled reports that came out in international newspapers, citing political turmoil and financial constraints on the part of the Mavericks as reasons they didn’t put up a team this season.

“That is far from the truth, the Philippine Mavericks have always been ready to join the IPTL right from the start and committed for the long haul,” said Lhuillier.

“As for the political turmoil, we as businessmen know very well to say the business and political climate in the country is sound enough to stage an IPTL leg,” said Hiranand.

The Mavericks saw action in the 2014 inaugural season with no less than global superstars Maria Sharapova and Andy Murray in its fold along with Filipino star Treat Huey.

Williams bannered the Mavericks last year along with Milos Raonic and Huey.

Last season also marked the debut of Rafael Nadal in the Philippines and, who like Sharapova, Williams and Murray, was surprised and impressed with the big crowd that showed up at SM Mall of Asia.

“For the past two years, the Philippine Mavericks’ campaign in the IPTL has been tradition for Philippine tennis and you can’t discount the effect it had on the local scene,” said Belmonte.

“It brought in the superstars that Filipino fans can only watch play on TV,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Mavericks owners’ also said that if “IPTL would be able to show the Philippine Mavericks that it has fixed its internal problems and fulfill its commitments to the team for Season 2, then we may reconsider joining next year.”

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