For a team that went ninth place in the Governors Cup, to coming up with just two wins short of a Finals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup, I should say Alaska coach Luigi Trillo and his hardworking coaching staff have done a tremendous job for the Aces this conference.
Trillo didn’t have a disappointed look at all even though the Aces failed to forge a seventh game in their Game 6, 83-78 loss in their Philippine Cup semifinals series Friday night (Jan. 4) at the Cuneta Astrodome.
I feel the Aces have what it takes to be a perennial championship contender in the coming years, now that Trillo got the players he needed.
JV Casio, Mac Baracael, Gabby Espinas and super rookie Calvin Abueva have played superb basketball this season, blending well with veterans Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio and Dondon Hontiveros, which saw Alaska push the semifinals series to a sixth game against two-time Philippine Cup champion Talk ‘N Text.
At the same time, Alaska was just one of two PBA teams (the other Barangay Ginebra) to have beaten Talk ‘N Text this conference. The Tropang Texters finished the 14-game elimination round with a 12-2 card to earn the no. 1 seed entering the quarterfinals.
The Aces earned the no. 5 seed, but managed to score a 2-0 sweep of the Meralco Bolts in the quarterfinals to arrange a best-of-seven semifinal meeting with the Tropang Texters.
“In this game (Game 6), I think we held on valiantly. The nice thing is we have a good platform to start from,” said Trillo in a post-game talk.
With a bunch of young players to build on, the Aces only need to get the right import for the Commissioner’s Cup set to open on Feb. 8.
Trillo already said they are just awaiting the response of former LA Laker backup slotman DJMbenga.