MANILA, Philippines – The bar has been set high for Converge as team owner Dennis Anthony Uy wants the FiberXers to be the “best” franchise going into their first PBA season.
Converge formally introduced its PBA team on Tuesday, April 5, after taking over the franchise sold by iconic Alaska, a winner of 14 championships and a rare Grand Slam in its 35 seasons in the league.
“Just like our mission to give the best broadband to Filipinos, we want to give top-notch basketball entertainment by having the best franchise in the PBA today,” Uy said.
The FiberXers will not be starting from scratch as they acquire the entire Aces squad – lock, stock, and barrel.
Converge retained coach Jeff Cariaso and his staff, although its roster has yet to be finalized with only three Alaska players – Jeron Teng, Ben Adamos, and Taylor Browne – having contracts going beyond this season.
Donning the FiberXers’ purple colors, Cariaso attended the team launch at the EDSA Shangri-La with Teng, Adamos, Allyn Bulanadi, Bryan Faundo, Jaycee Marcelino, and Rey Publico along with other team staff.
“We do not want to rock the boat. We’ll see how this team moves forward,” said Converge governor Chito Salud, who also served as PBA commissioner from 2010 to 2015.
“Marching orders from boss Dennis is to make this team competitive. We did not join to be an embarrassment and we’ll do our best not to be that.”
The excitement that surrounds Converge revolves around the moves it will make in the offseason, particularly in the PBA Draft.
Also obtaining the draft picks Alaska collected the past years, the FiberXers will get a crack at the top rookie aspirants as they own the third and fourth overall selections.
Converge will also pick at No. 15 in the second round, giving the team three potential impact players heading into the all-Filipino conference.
“I told you we want to exercise our [picks] very cautiously, choosing big men and shooters, and hopefully we can move forward with those picks,” Salud said.
“Along the way, if there are trades that are attractive, why not? As you know, there are only two ways to improve the lineup: through trades and through drafts. Both avenues, we will explore and use cautiously.”
While new teams normally are not expected to do well in their first PBA stints, Salud and Converge have no plans being pushovers.
“I do not know how I can face ownership and management if we’re always in the bottom of the pile,” Salud said. “We want to win. We want to compete.”
“If they give us more time, we welcome that. But that will not hinder us from trying right now.” – Rappler.com