ALASKA coach Jeff Cariaso admitted the coming PBA draft is the primary reason why the Aces decided to let go of MJ Ayaay and two other players.
Aside from Ayaay, the Aces have also released Abel Galliguez and Yutien Andrada in a move to free up spots for rookies taken in the March 14 draft.
The Aces will pick seventh overall in this year’s draft that is being labeled as the deepest ever with 97 players applying. The final list will be released a week before drafting.
The coming draft is so deep that Alaska is still expected to obtain a marquee player even in the second round where they will select twice beginning with the 19th overall pick.
The Aces will also select at No. 21, a pick that was obtained in the Jake Pascual trade to Phoenix made late in 2019.
“In order to make room for the draft, we had to make a tough decision and not re-sign three players,” said Cariaso.
Nevertheless, Cariaso is happy for Ayaay, who signed with Barangay Ginebra with no less than head coach Tim Cone announcing the deal on Twitter.
Cariaso, who played for and was once a part of the coaching staff of Cone, expects Ayaay to flourish with the Gin Kings.
“I'm happy to know that Ginebra has picked him up and he'll have the opportunity to play for Coach Tim,” said Cariaso.
Galliguez averaged 2.64 points after playing in all 11 games of the eliminations last year. His bubble campaign, however, came to an end after a nasty fall during the quarterfinal match against TNT in which he needed 20 stitches to close a gash above his left eye.
Andrada only played four games for Alaska during the bubble.