Converge owner denies recruiting PBA deserters
Dennis Anthony Uy, the CEO of Converge which owns a franchise in the PBA, issued a statement on Tuesday denying that his team has called on three other squads to bolt the league, saying “the company is not in the business of basketball and that he is not interested in participating in such histrionics.”
The statement also took a shot at “the SMC-MVP (San Miguel Corp. — Manny V. Pangilinan group) duopoly resulting in declining live gates, with the UAAP getting more ticket sales, and new talents snubbing the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) draft to play overseas.”
The leadership of the PBA just ended its annual planning session in Paris, where the Inquirer reported that Converge allegedly approached three other teams to bolt after Uy’s appointment of Pampanga Governor Delta Pineda was rejected by the board in a collegial decision early this month.
Board chair Ricky Vargas made the revelation and had actually instructed commissioner Willie Marcial to set up a meeting with Uy “to talk this out like true gentlemen, as what has been the practice in the PBA.”
That story saw print and was posted on Monday.
“Converge joined the PBA with the genuine intention of bringing vigor to the league for the greater entertainment of basketball fans across the country as our fiber internet services reached nationwide presence,” said Uy, who will be at the World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Monte Carlo, Monaco, to represent the Philippines.
Uy bought the Alaska franchise at the end of last season, and the FiberXers have shown their seriousness to contend for titles with a variety of personnel moves, counting coaches, players and the board representative.
“We believe that having a PBA basketball team would bring us closer to more Filipino homes that we want to serve. We are aiming to become a household name when it comes to world-class connectivity,” Uy, named Entrepreneur of the Year and Master Entrepreneur in the prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines 2022 Awards last November, said.
The statement said that Uy “is currently focused on making that happen so that the majority of Filipinos will receive the benefits of having the best quality, reliable and affordable internet connectivity. Thus, he wanted to appoint people who are knowledgeable and passionate about basketball to represent and manage the Converge FiberXers team.”
The rejection of Pineda obviously didn’t sit well with Uy, as Converge was the only team without a governor and, like Magnolia, was not represented in the planning session.
“I deeply regret the decision of the PBA Board to decline our appointment of Pampanga Governor Delta Pineda as our representative to the Board of Governors,” Uy was quoted by the statement as saying.
“We truly believe that his presence at the PBA Board will only bring more energy and dynamism to the PBA and help the league reenergize its popularity among sports fans.”
The Converge boss also cited the act of Pineda in holding the “bubble” in 2020 and 2021 in his province to emphasize his love for the sport.
Uy also alluded in the statement about how the battle for championships between the San Miguel Corp. and PLDT conglomerates is hurting the league.
“It’s about time that we level the playing field at the PBA. Fairness is a core virtue of sportsmanship. We need to respect our viewers—the Filipino basketball fans. We should give them the sports entertainment that they deserve,” Uy said.