PBA: Converge acquires Alaska franchise

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2022 04:12 PM | Updated as of Mar 23 2022 04:51 PM

Alaska's new team governor and former PBA commissioner Chito Salud, current PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and outgoing Alaska governor Richard Bachmann.
Alaska's new team governor and former PBA commissioner Chito Salud, current PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and outgoing Alaska governor Richard Bachmann.

(UPDATED) Converge ICT Solutions Inc. is set to become the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) 12th team. 

This developed after the successful sale and transfer of the Alaska Milk Corp. franchise.

The PBA made the confirmation in a press conference Wednesday attended by league commissioner Willie Marcial, Alaska's outgoing governor Richard Bachmann, and new team governor, former PBA commissioner Chito Salud.

"May nakakuha na po ng prangkisa ng Alaska. Naaprubahan ito ng Board of Governors, 11-0, at nagkasundo na po ang dalawang kumpanya, 'yung mga terms and condition nila, nagkapirmahan na," said Marcial.

"Kasama sa susunod na season natin by June sa Season 47 ay Converge."

Converge is founded and headed by CEO Dennis Anthony Uy.

"We are happy to announce the entry of Converge ICT Solutions Inc. in the Philippine Basketball Association. This was made possible following the successful conclusion of the sale and transfer of the Alaska franchise to Converge," Uy said in a statement read by Salud.

"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."

Former team owner Wilfred Uytengsu expressed his satisfaction and shared his gratitude for the value placed on his Alaska team.

"We are pleased that the new owners of our storied franchise are industry leaders, and we are grateful to Mr. Dennis Anthony Uy and Converge for ensuring that the Alaska Aces team will get to continue in its new direction under his stewardship," said Uytengsu in a statement.

"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."

Alaska last month announced it was leaving the league after 35 seasons that saw the Aces become one of the winningest clubs.

With the membership going through, Alaska’s current roster and coaching staff are expected to transition to Converge, although Uy reportedly preferred tapping players from his home province Pampanga.

The value of the franchise was estimated at P150 million, a massive recoup for Alaska team owner Wilfred Uytengsu, who bought the franchise in the mid-1980s, a time when it was worth less than P1 million.

FrieslandCampina, a Dutch company involved in the dairy industry, bought Alaska founder Uytengsu's stake in March 2012, a development that would fuel talk of the club eventually exiting the PBA.

When asked if they will be making changes regarding the team's current roster, Salud said they still need to meet the team first.

"We have barely three months to prepare for the next season. I'll be working closely with Dickie Bachmann on this. Together we will assess the performance of the players and the coaches and make a decision soon," he said.

Salud added they kept the deal under wraps for sometime "so as not to distract the Alaska players" while they were still competing in the PBA. 

"We believe that this team has great potential and as I said we just need to recalibrate and move forward," he said.