CONVERGE team owner Dennis Uy considers the franchise as the new PBA underdogs who are out to give fans something to cheer about behind their exciting run-and-gun approach to the game.
The Pampanga billionaire said the arrival of new coach Aldin Ayo added a new dimension to the rookie ballclub as it seeks to sustain - or even surpass - the gains it had during its maiden conference in the Philippine Cup.
“Bilog ang bola,” said Uy in a virtual presser with members of the press before boarding a flight bound for the US. “I’m happy naman dahil ang fans nakikita nila na we’re trying our best, entertain them, and make sure our players play hard.”
READ: Converge shrugs off Dyip, Prosper's 43-25 line to gift Ayo winning debut
That’s what the FiberXers offered in their debut game in the Commissioner’s Cup, outgunning Terrafirma Dyip, 124-110, behind the 38 points, 16 rebounds, and five assists of import Quincy Miller, a former NBA player.
“Step on the pedal and full steam ahead. We just have to keep on running because that’s our game,” said Ayo shortly after notching his first victory as a coach in the PBA.
Uy said Converge has to take advantage of what the team has right now.
“Our team is young,” he pointed out. “Kailangan natin yung fast games, so kailangan yung coach is aligned with the players.
“So if you have the right formula and right chemistry to bring this season, mas better.”
Of course, Uy knows his basketball.
He was a varsity player in grade school at the Holy Family Academy in Pampanga, while his uncle once owned the ballclub Johnny’s Supermarket that played in the old Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association (MICAA).
That’s why time permitting, Uy makes sure to watch the FiberXers’ games live at the venue.
Sometimes, he even drops by to see the team during practices.
“Pinuntahan ko minsan sa practice. Na-delay yung flight ko. Nasa airport na ako, bumalik pa ako and sinamahan ko sila,”recalled the Converge CEO.
The Converge owner said he’s satisfied with the way the team performed in its maiden conference during the Philippine Cup, where it made the playoffs under former coach Jeff Cariaso, but had an early exit in the quarterfinals against second-seed TNT.
“First timer pa lang kami, and kahit first timer pa lang, it’s not bad kasi nakapasok kami sa playoffs,” said Uy.
“Coach Jeff did a good job naman. He brought us to the playoffs and he tried his best. I respect him naman,” he said of the former PBA champion player.
But Uy believes Ayo is the best coach to bring the best out of the materials the team has at the moment.
He describes Ayo, a two-time college champion coach, as very detailed.
“Mga small mistakes, he corrects it right on the spot. Mabusisi in short,” added Uy.
Ayo already made minor changes to the team, acquiring his former player at La Salle, Aljun Melecio, and Kris Porter from Phoenix in exchange for Ben Adamos and Kurt Lojera.
In terms of team personnel, Uy said he lets Ayo and Converge governor and team manager Atty. Chito Salud do the dealings, with the final approval eventually coming from him.
“Sila coach and Com Chito ang nag-aayos niyan,” he said. “Mas naiintindihan nila ‘yung skills kasi ng mga player diyan and how they can help align with the coach.”
Winning a championship indeed, is the ultimate goal, but Uy said the FiberXers can be patient and will do it slowly but surely.
“I think we have to reach the hill, the top. Yung mag-champion ng ganun, It takes a while, hindi naman yan overnight,” he said.
“So we have to build system ng players, i-develop ang mga players properly. We’re on the right path,” added Uy. “Kahit makapasok lang kami sa semis this time, parang may achievement na rin.”