ALASKA made the biggest news of the weekend when it announced the decision to let go of Luigi Trillo and appoint Alex Compton to the head-coaching position.
The Aces organization, though, has left a lot of questions unanswered.
Other than a straightforward, four-paragraph statement released to media outlets, Alaska has stayed silent on why the team has suddenly fired Trillo - the reigning PBA Coach of the Year who led the Aces to their first league championship in the post-Tim Cone era just last season.
Trillo isn't talking, so is team governor Dickie Bachmann. Compton granted an interview to Spin.ph on Sunday, but made it clear he is sticking to his debut game as Alaska coach against Talk 'N Text on Monday and won't touch on the circumstances that led to Trillo's departure.
No less than team owner Wilfred Uytengsu was on hand at the Gatorade Hoops Center for the transition on Sunday, when Trillo bid the team goodbye with a short speech before Compton was introduced as the new head coach.
But Uytengsu, too, isn't talking.
Asked by Spin.ph if there was a lot more to Trillo's exit than meets the eye, the Alaska top honcho said, "Not really. Just as our press release says."
The media statement, though, left a lot of questions hanging on why Trillo was suddenly given the boot by a team that - unlike rival ballclubs like Ginebra and San Miguel Beer - has no recent history of whimsical firing of its coaches.
Cone, in fact, had coached Alaska for 22 years and probably would still be coaching the Aces if he did not decide to transfer to San Mig in 2011. Trillo's father, Joaqui, was team manager for a much longer time.
Before he led Alaska to the Commissioner's Cup championship last season, the young Trillo went through a rough stretch where the Aces hit lows unprecedented in the franchise's history.
Still, Uytengsu kept the faith amid calls for a coaching change.
Granting Alaska had a "challenging ride" the past three conferences after winning the Commissioner's Cup title and was coming off a bad loss to GlobalPort the day before, it it still so unlike Uytengsu and Alaska to let a coach go without a compelling reason.
On what the real reason is, no one is saying - yet. An Alaska insider said only Uytengsu and Trillo know the reason behind the coaching switch.
Now, Compton has the task of trying to turn around the fortunes of the franchise. The first order of business is a game against Talk 'N Text in the lone PBA Governors Cup game on Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game time is at 8 p.m.
The 5-foot-11 Compton, who began his coaching career in the league as an assistant for Welcoat (2006-07), said there won’t be any wholesale changes to the way things are run within the team as they go up against a tough team and a multi-titled coach in Norman Black.
“You don’t just stumble on 10 PBA championships anytime. So it’s gonna be a big challenge for me and the team because I think over the last four years, Talk ‘N Text and San Mig Coffee have set the bar in terms of being the winningest (PBA) franchises,” Compton told Spin.ph.
“(Talk ‘N Text) got a coach who knows how to win and I could’t imagine a much tougher opponent than Talk ‘N Text,” he added.
Compton kept his pre-game statement short, saying the Aces will have to cut down their turnovers and just keep getting better as the conference wears on.
“We’re just gonna have to keep getting better and try to keep competing,” said the 40-year-old new Alaska coach.
The Aces will face a Tropang Texters that will possibly play all-Filipino due to the contract problem current import Othyus Jeffers has found himself embroiled in.
The 6-foot-2 Jeffers debuted in the league with 38 points and 13 rebounds, providing the much-needed spark in the Tropang Texters’s 105-99 win over sister team Meralco Bolts.
Jeffers is still in Manila and in fact, joined the team’s practice on Sunday, hoping he could still play on Monday as the Tropang Texters await a formal clearance coming from Fiba.