Former PBA commissioner Atty. Chito Salud is excited to be back in mainstream basketball scene, but unlike the previous years, he’ll be more focused on running a team than the entire league.
“I’m excited to be back in basketball. Basketball has always been on the discussion on our dinner table for the most part of my life,” said Salud, whose dad, Atty. Rudy Salud, also became commissioner of Asia’s pioneering professional basketball league from 1988 to 1992.
“I cannot say at this time if it’s going to be less stress,” added Salud in a telephone interview with ABS-CBN News. “But it’s going to be challenging as well.”
The team Salud is referring is Converge, the company which took over the Alaska Aces franchise left the PBA after 36 years of participation in the PBA.
Alaska is leaving a rich legacy and this legacy will be inherited by the newest member of the PBA family. Aside from the rich tradition of the Aces, Converge has also acquired the rights to its team members, including the team management and coaching staff.
But Converge is also looking to continue the team’s previous legacy if not surpass it.
“Alaska has a rich tradition and we’re fortunate to inherit the core of the team,” added Salud, the Converge team governor. “But we want to build our own identity and carry the core values of Converge in the PBA. We want to build a young, competitive team.”
Converge won’t be starting from scratch as it purchased Alaska’s franchise via lock, stock and barrel and keeping head Jeff Cariaso is one of the things the newest PBA family member did.
“We want to have stability in our squad, so we wanted to keep the core of Alaska and that includes coach Jeff (Cariaso),” added Salud. “I believe we’re set for practice next week.”
Converge is still waiting for Cariaso who is currently in the United States.
With two first-round picks, plus the core of the Alaska team, Converge can put up a solid team right in its first season in the PBA.
This year’s Rookie Draft is expected to be teeming with talent, which is why Salud is keen on keeping the team’s two first round picks.
Teams are reportedly lining up negotiating with Converge, but Salud explained that the team is in the process of building the core group of the team before entertaining talks. The first step of that buildup begins on Draft Day.
“Unless, of course, the offer is super attractive,” added Salud on the team’s decision to hold on to the two first round picks. “But we’re hoping this year’s Rookie Draft will be a deep draft and we want to form a young and competitive squad that will beef up our core for the next five to 10 years.”
Converge, according to Salud, has yet to plan on what type of players they need for the coming draft neither as the team has decided on who among the Alaska players will be kept for the coming season.
“We’re evaluating,” added Salud. “We’re going to sit down with coach Jeff once he arrives and plan for the coming season.”