MVP: ‘Principle of inclusion’, key to allowing Converge in the PBA

CLARK FREEPORT – PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan has underscored competition to be good in and out of the basketball court even as corporate foe Converge ICT Solutions built up its team for the next season of the PBA.

Showing graciousness when it did not block the entry of Converge in the professional league, Pangilinan said that allowing the team of Pampanga billionaire Dennis Anthony Uy was an agreement with his executives in basketball operations.

“It’s been done right. We said we will not oppose and it was a consensus decision with Al (Panlilio, PLDT President) and Ricky (Vargas, PBA Board Chairman)”, Pangilinan said.

The comments were made by Pangilinan during the recent PLDT First Quarter media briefing when this writer asked for comments in view of profuse thanks coming from Converge executives in allowing them to join the PBA.

Pangilinan also said that the decision was also based on “principle of inclusion.”

“Clearly a competitor (Converge). It is good to compete. So we should not be shy about competing even in basketball court,” Pangilinan added.

Converge, which traces its beginnings to VHS and Betamax rentals of the Uy brothers in the 1980s, has become the fastest growing pure fiber internet provider for the last few years. It has poised challenge with its ever increasing fiber rollouts nationwide. The PLDT has remained the Philippines’ largest integrated telco company.

Both have been registering consistent upward revenues and fiber internet coverages in the country.

Under the existing policy of the PBA, there is “lockout veto power” where a direct competitor can raise objection to the sale of a franchise application from the same industry. The sale of a PBA franchise requires two thirds vote from 12 current ball club owners sitting in the PBA Board of Governors. The MVP group, which chose to allow Converge, has the TnT Tropang Giga, NLEX Road Warriors and the Meralco Bolts in the league for years now. 

“It was a remarkable sporting gesture on the part of MVP and his group. Dennis Anthony Uy is sincerely grateful for the magnanimity shown by the leaders of the PBA in accepting Converge into the folds of the league. Mr. Pangilinan’s pronouncements cement his legacy as a true ambassador of the sport,” said Converge Board of Governor Chito Salud.

Converge will be joining the PBA in its next season via the P117- million purchase of the Alaska Aces franchise. It has been beefing up its team by signing former Alaska standouts. It has also taken in Pampanga Governor Dennis Pineda, a known basketball patron, as its consultant for player development.

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