Converge FiberXers head coach Aldin Ayo is determined to shield his players from the drama that is swirling his team.
The FiberXers have been in the news lately for developments off the court: Top guard Maverick Ahanmisi remains unsigned and team owner Dennis Anthony Uy released a statement calling for a level playing field in the PBA. But Ayo's focus remains on squeezing the best out of his undermanned team in the PBA On Tour.
"We don't have any updates," Ayo said moments after the FiberXers collapsed in the last minute against the Magnolia Hotshots and dropped a 99-95 decision Wednesday night. "The coaching staff right now, we don't mind or think about what's happening at the top. We're just focused on the preparations of the team."
The team released a statement on Tuesday to deny a report that Uy has been trying to form a breakaway basketball league, which comes on the heels of the PBA Board thumbing down Pampanga Governor Delta Pineda as the team's nominee for team governor.
"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," Uy said in the statement.
"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. We truly believe that his presence at the PBA Board will only bring more energy and dynamism to the PBA and help the league re-energize its popularity among sports fans."
Uy also called for the league to have a level playing field in an apparent jab at the title domination of the San Miguel Corporation and MVP Group blocs.
"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."
Meanwhile, Ahanmisi and team management are still far apart on a new contract, sources told ESPN. The talented guard will become an unrestricted free agent on June 7, and it appears more and more likely that he will take his talents elsewhere.
"We're just going to make the most of what we have," Ayo said of Ahanmisi's continued absence. "Whoever is here with us, we'll work with that."
On the court, the FiberXers' inexperience showed against the veteran Hotshots after they let a four-point lead slip away in the last two minutes.
"We just had to make the most of what we have," Ayo said about his team, which had only 10 players. "We tried to adjust to the foul trouble. Our youth came out in the end game. Better decision-making, composure in the end game, that's what we lack. Who hit the shots in the end? Paul (Lee) and Mark (Barroca), both veterans. That's what we lack and that what we're working towards achieving. We have a young team, so hopefully they learn from this experience."
Converge battled back from a double-digit deficit in the third quarter to grab the lead down the stretch thanks to the hot shooting of Kevin Racal and Jerrick Balanza, but Ayo wasn't too impressed.
"It may look good because they were converting their shots. But that's not the whole game. The problem is in the other aspects of the game. There are more important things to do, which is playing their roles."
The FiberXers, who played without guards Aljun Melecio and Adrian Wong and big man Kris Porter, try to bounce back from their first loss of this offseason tournament when they take on the Meralco Bolts on June 4.