Air 21 Express
The Air21 Express is a Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) team that debuted on the 2011–12 PBA season. The team debuted as theShopinas.com Clickers during the 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup.
Sale of the Barako Bull franchiseMain article: Barako Bull Energy Boosters (2000-2011)
Energy Food and Drink Inc., owner of the Barako Bull Energy Boosters franchise, had informed the PBA board on March 2011 that they intend to fold citing the plan to shift their business strategy, their ongoing lawsuit against TC Pharmaceuticals Industries Co., manufacturer of Red Bull in Thailand, and the death of former board governor Tony Chua at the height of Tropical Storm Ondoy (Ketsana). Barako Bull had been on leave since the 2011 PBA Commissioner's Cup, was then planning to sell the franchise to Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc., the sponsor of the league's games outside Metro Manila. On the PBA board meeting, the board disallowed the sale of the franchise to Phoenix, failing to get at least two-thirds of the ten board members, although they allowed Barako Bull to stay on leave until the 2011 PBA Governors Cup.
On June 2011, Barako Bull informed the PBA they intend to sell their franchise to the Lina Group of Companies (LGC) of Bert Lina, owner of theAir21 Express franchise reportedly for 50 million pesos. On July 2011, the board approved Barako Bull's sale to Airfreight 2100, while deferring the new franchise's concession that might be given to the team to improve its roster. Air21 Manny Alvarez mentioned that the second LGC franchise will be named Shopinas, after the group's new company that focuses into e-commerce, and that the new team's representative would be Shiela Lina, who is then forming the team's coaching staff.
Former La Salle Green Archers coach Franz Pumaren was named as the franchise's first head coach. Pumaren, who has coached the La Salle men's varsity basketball team to five University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) basketball titles, resigned as La Salle coach in 2009 to concentrate on his political career. As a result of the old Barako Bull franchise trading away their best players, the franchise asked PBA commissioner Chito Salud for concessions in the 2011 PBA Draft, pending approval from the PBA board. The board eventually approved to give the team the first pick for the second round (11th overall).
The Clickers selected Mark Barroca, Magi Sison and Mark Cagoco in the 2011 PBA Draft. Barroca was eventually sent to the B-Meg Llamados forBrian Ilad and Elmer Espiritu in a three-way trade with Barako Bull Energy.
The team finished the Philippine Cup eliminations with a 0-14 record, setting a new all-time record for consecutive losses in a single conference, which was previously held by the 1982 Great Taste Discoverers (Reinforced Filipino Conference) and the 1984 Country Fair Hotdogs (2nd All-Filipino Conference).
Commissioner's Cup: Renaming as the Air21 ExpressAfter a disappointing finish in the Philippine Cup, the Lina Group decided to rename the franchise as the Air21 Express, the name that was previously carried by their sister team, Barako Bull Energy.
Before the Commissioner's Cup started, the team traded Mark Canlas, Dennis Daa, and a 2012 first round pick to the Meralco Bolts in exchange for bigmen Nelbert Omolon and Mark Isip.
The team had signed SMART-Gilas player Marcus Douthit as their import for the Commissioner's Cup. Despite having Douthit as import, the team failed to pass through the elimination round, only finishing with a 3-6 record.
PBA 2013 All Filipino Cup
Date Opponent Score
10/03/12 Barako Bull 87 - 90 (L)
10/07/12 Globalport 88 - 81 (W)
10/12/12 Rain or Shine 98 - 99 OT (L)
10/17/12 Talk 'N Text 89 - 96 (L)
10/21/12 Meralco 72 - 85 (L)
10/26/12 Alaska 81 - 92 (L)
11/02/12 Petron 97 - 76 (W)
11/09/12 Barako Bull 86 - 85 (W)
11/14/12 Alaska 104 - 103 (W)
11/17/12 Rain or Shine 62 - 71 (L)
11/23/12 San Mig Coffee 80 - 89 (L)
11/25/12 Talk 'N Text 94 - 100 (L)
11/30/12 Ginebra 76 - 99 (L)
12/05/12 Globalport 113 - 92 (W)