MANILA, Philippines -- "Kabahan sila dito sa Converge."
PBA commissioner Willie Marcial issued this warning to the rest of the league's ball clubs while also setting high expectations for their newest member when he officially welcomed Converge ICT Solutions, Inc. to the league on Tuesday.
Converge purchased the Alaska franchise last month, after the company decided to leave the PBA following a stint that lasted 34 seasons and saw them win 14 championships, including a Grand Slam.
On Tuesday, Converge also announced that their team will carry the name Fiber Xers.
Per the terms of the sale, Converge also secured ownership of the players and coaches who were under contract with Alaska. But the new management -- led by former PBA commissioner Chito Salud -- has made it clear that they will make moves to ensure they will be competitive immediately.
"As Converge's representative to the PBA Board of Governors… I will be guided by a single objective," said Salud. "[That is] to help Converge begin a winning tradition, that will allow Converge to belong in the annals of teams with a rich history of championships."
Salud will be joined in the Converge front office by Dickie Bachmann, the former team governor of the Alaska Aces. For Marcial, their presence will go a long way towards ensuring that the new team can hang with the league's more established franchises.
"Kabahan sila dito sa Converge. Hindi po ito bola," said Marcial. "Kasi, andoon po si Comm. Chito Salud, andiyan po si assistant team manager Dickie Bachmann. Alam nila ang daan papuntang championship."
"Kung ako mga ibang teams, kabahan sila sa Converge. Sa akin po, malaking bagay, malaking tulong ang Converge na sumama sa PBA," he added.
Salud, the PBA's commissioner from 2010 to 2015, acknowledged that they may not immediately contend for a championship, but they will pull out all stops to ensure that they can hang with the other teams.
"We're not going to be there just to languish and be in the middle of the pack," he said.
"We're there to compete, we're there to win. I don't know if I can face ownership and management if we're always at the bottom of the pile," he added. "We want to compete. If they give us more time, we welcome that. But that won't hinder us from trying right now."