MANILA -- Alaska will continue its stay in the PBA, thanks to Converge ICT Solutions' acquisition of the fabled league franchise.
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial is perhaps among the happiest persons over the development.
Marcial admitted he was very concerned about the team when Alaska team owner Wilfred Uytengsu announced that the multi-titled franchise is leaving the league after 35 years.
"'Yung biglang nagpaalam, nasa pandemya tayo. Hirap ako doon. Sabi ko, 'May kukuha ba (ng prangkisa)? Baka wala,'" he said.
Marcial said it was hard to find a new team owner given the current business climate.
"Kung 'yan nangyari four years ago, five years ago, alam ko may kukuha sa prangkisa kasi may kausap tayo. Pero may pandemya at ganoon ang sitwayson, hindi ko talaga alam kung may kukuha."
But then he got a call from Chito Salud, the former PBA commissioner, who later on would be named the franchise's new team governor.
"Ipinaalam ko agad kay Chairman (Ricky Vargas)... 'Sige,' sabi niya. 'Magmi-meeting muna kami,'" recounted Marcial. "After one to two days, sabi, 'Com, pumapayag kami.'"
"Ganoon kadali. Akala ko nga magkakaproblema pa. 11-0 (ang resulta sa board). Kung boboto man si (Alaska) Gov. Dickie (Bachmann), 12-0 'yan."
Marcial said he was delighted to welcome Converge and new team owner Dennis Anthoy Uy to the league.
"Iba kaso itong pandemya, akala ko doon ako mahihirapan. Pero sa tulong ni Com. Chito na sinamahan ako, nagkaroon tayo ng bagong team owner," he said.