- For the Philippine Basketball Association team which formerly carried the name, see Barako Bull Energy Cola.
|Team colors||Indigo, Orange, and White
|Board governor||Lito Alvarez|
|Company||Airfrieght 2100, Inc.|
|Head coach||Franz Pumaren|
|Retired numbers||1 (18)|
The Air21 Express is a professional basketball team playing in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) that debuted on the 2011–12 season. The team debuted as the Shopinas.com Clickers during the 2011–12 PBA Philippine Cup.
Sale of the Barako Bull franchise
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 the Air21 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.
Philippine Cup: Disappointing maiden conference
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 for Brian 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 Express
After 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.
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.
Air21 Express (2011-present) roster
- Records from the 2012–13 PBA season:
|Conf.||Team name||Elimination round||Playoffs|
|PHI||Air21 Express||8th/10||5||9||.357||Quarterfinals||Air21 100, Talk 'N Text** 105|
|COM||8th/10||6||8||.429||Quarterfinals||Air21 81, Alaska** 87|
|GOV||10th/10||3||6||.333||Did not qualify|
|Total elimination round||14||23||.378||0 semifinal appearances|
|Total playoffs||0||2||.000||0 Finals appearances|
|Total 2012–13||14||25||.359||0 championships|
|Total franchise||19||53||.264||0 championships|
**team had the twice-to-beat advantage
|Air21 Express retired numbers|
- a – retired on December 18, 2013. Meneses wore #18 during his stint for the Swift/Sunkist/Pop Cola franchise from 1993 to 1999. He played for the old FedEx/Air21 franchise (now known as the Barako Bull Energy) from 2002 to 2004, wearing jersey #8.
- Beltran, Nelson (2011-03-22). "Barako Bull opts to leave PBA". Philippine Star. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- Beltran, Nelson (2011-03-30). "Barako sale to Phoenix nixed". Philippine Star. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- Beltran, Nelson (2011-07-09). "Board okays Lina takeover of Barako, TV5 pact". Philippine Star. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- Beltran, Nelson (2011-07-16). "Kings to ship Miller to Express for Canaleta". Philippine Star. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- Belen, Reynaldo (2011-07-22). "Franz Pumaren to sign 3-year deal with Shopinas in PBA". Interaksyon.com. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- Belen, Reynaldo (2011-07-22). "Shopinas asks PBA for more draft picks". Interaksyon.com. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
- 0–14, Josiah Israel Albelda
- B-MEG shuts out Shopinas campaign, clinches twice-to-beat, interaksyon.com, December 8, 2011
- Management wants Air21 brand back in PBA, GMA News Online, January 11, 2012
- , Reynaldo Belen, InterAKTV · Friday, January 27, 2012
- , Reynaldo Belen, InterAKTV · Thursday, February 2, 2012
- Caguioa all praises for old Ginebra mentor Meneses: ‘Parang Jordan of the Philippines’, Rey Joble, InterAKSYON, December 18, 2013
Barako Bull Energy Boosters
|PBA teams genealogies