Leading internet service provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc. has officially become the newest member of the Philippine Basketball Association after completing the acquisition of the Alaska Aces franchise.
A month after Alaska Milk Corporation announced its intention to bow out of Asia’s first professional basketball league, the Aces reached an agreement with the internet solutions company.
The PBA office approved the transfer of the Alaska franchise to Converge on March 22, making Converge an official member of the PBA family.
In a statement, AMC chairman Wilfred Uytengsu was satisfied with with the smooth transfer of the franchise and “expressed gratitude for the value placed on the Alaska Aces team.”
“We are pleased that the new owners of our storied franchise are industry leaders, and are grateful to Mr. Dennis Anthony Uy (Converge co-founder and Chief Executive Officer) for ensuring that the Alaska Aces team will get to continue in this new direction under his stewardship. We have a great staff and a competitive team, and with this development, we are assured that they will continue to be given the opportunity to shine in the PBA. We wish Converge all the best to continue our winning tradition,” Uytengsu said.
Uy thanked Uytengsu, the PBA Board of Governors, chairman Ricky Vargas, and PBA commissioner Willie Marcial for supporting Converge in acquiring the storied Aces franchise.
“Converge is extremely proud to be associated with the PBA, a pillar and institution in Philippine sports with a long and storied history. We are excited to commence our journey in building a track record and legacy of competitiveness, innovation, character, discipline, devotion, and sportsmanship worthy of the support and respect of PBA fans,” said Uy.
He assured that Converge will continue to honor the contracts of players even until after the current season, while the current coaching and medical staff may be considered for re-hiring after a performance evaluation.
The Aces had 35 seasons in the league, winning 14 titles and a grand slam in 1996 to become the second-winningest franchise in PBA history. The Aces were last seen on March 19, losing to NLEX Warriors in the battle for a Final Four seat, 96-80.
Aside from the amount paid to Alaska for the sale of the team, business news website Bilyonaryo.com said that “the PBA has asked Converge to submit a P100 million bond to guarantee its membership for five years; deposit P7 million as equity; and pay P7 million transfer fee.”
It was more than just a business decision for Uy, though.
It was also a fulfilment of his uncle Johnny’s dream to own a team in the PBA, according to Bilyonaryo.com.
As per Bilyonaryo.com, Uy’s uncle, the owner of Johnny’s Supermarket, used to sponsor a team in the “Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association, the country’s most popular commercial league before the PBA was born in 1975.”
Johnny passed away in September, 2020.
Converge officially unveils its team uniform in the PBA’s 4th season in June.
“Converge aspires to bring to the court a brand of basketball consistent with its revolutionary and entrepreneurial spirit,” added Uy. “We look forward to contributing our share in delighting and hopefully exceeding the expectations of PBA fans for top-notch sports entertainment.”