MANILA, Philippines -- After briefly finding themselves in limbo over the ownership situation of their team, Jeron Teng and Jeff Cariaso are now sharing the excitement of their new management.
Both Cariaso and Teng were in the house on Tuesday when Converge ICT Solutions, Inc. officially unveiled its PBA team, weeks after formalizing its purchase of the Alaska Aces franchise.
As the franchise was bought in its entirety, the coaches and players who were still under contract with Alaska are now part of the new Converge team. Cariaso, in particular, will be retained as the head coach of the team that will go by the moniker FiberXers.
"I'm excited to start this journey off with them," said Cariaso. "We ended Alaska with confetti, and now we're starting it also with confetti. So you can imagine the excitement and happiness for us."
The Aces' historic stint in the PBA -- which spanned over three decades and included 14 championships -- ended on March 19 with a loss to the NLEX Road Warriors in the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors' Cup.
A week later, Converge ICT confirmed its purchase of the franchise. They will make their debut in the PBA's 47th season later this year.
"We're all really blessed dahil siyempre, we found a new team with Converge. Siyempre, last conference, we didn't know where we'd go next," said Teng. "Pero now, at least, Converge is there for us, and we're just all really blessed and excited to play for Converge."
Cariaso and Teng both expressed their excitement for the new challenge in front of them -- a challenge made clear by team owner Dennis Anthony Uy and team governor Chito Salud. Both officials have high expectations for their team heading into their first season.
"We are ready to challenge the techno giants," Uy said. "This is the same mindset we will bring to the PBA."
"Marching orders from Boss Dennis is to make this competitive. We didn't join the PBA to be an embarrassment, and we'll do our best not to be that," Salud, for his part, said.
Salud, a former PBA commissioner, said the team can "expect full support from ownership and management" in this regard. "I think I have sent that message quite clearly to the players and the coaches," he said.
For Teng and Cariaso, hearing this from their bosses is encouraging.
"Those are things you need to hear," said Cariaso. "They're just telling us the truth, they're just telling us things that we already know."
"Our part is to train the best we can, form the best team that we can, and then, be competitive. We never wanna be joining just to join. We've always tried to give the best team that we can, every game and every conference, every year," he added.
"So in that aspect, that doesn't change. But with their excitement and their passion and their support, I think we could assume that our team will be better, stronger, and hopefully the results will follow."
Teng, for his part, said: "For us players, it's extra motivation to have owners like that. So we're really extra motivated for the next conference."