By JONAS TERRADO
Converge ICT Solutions became the newest member of the PBA family after its acquisition of the Alaska franchise was approved by the league’s Board of Governors.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial made the announcement in a press conference during halffime of the Governors’ Cup semifinal opener between Magnolia Pambansang Manok and Meralco, a day after speculations that the telecommunications service provider was allowed to enter the fold.
Marcial was joined in the presscon by Alaska Team Governor Dickie Bachmann and former PBA Commissioner Chito Salud, who will serve as Converge’s Team Governor.
A statement released by Converge founder Dennis Anthony Uy expressed elation over his company’s entry starting with the 47th season.
“We’re truly honored and excited to be part of the PBA and be associated with such a beloved team,” said Uy, who is not the same person who owns the Phoenix Super LPG franchise.
Marcial said that the PBA board voted unanimously to allow Converge, including teams under the ownership of Manny V. Pangilinan.
Salud said Converge welcomed the “sporting gesture of Mr. Pangilinan” despite a PBA rule that prohibits direct competitors from entering the league.
Pangilinan also owns TNT, which is also in the telco industry.
Alaska owner Wilfred Uytengsu, who last month made an emotional decision to end its 36-year participation, is glad to have a found a buyer in Converge, which will inherit the contract of players with live pacts next season.
“We are pleased that the new owners of our storied franchise are industry leaders, and are grateful to Mr. Uy and Converge for ensuring that the Alaska Aces team will get to continue in the new direction under his stewardship,” Uytengsu said as part of the joint statement.
Even Rain or Shine team owners Raymund Yu and Terry Que were happy with the entry of Converge into the league.
“Yes” was the short reply of Yu when asked if Converge’s entry was a good sign for the league.