ALASKA’s worst franchise loss in PBA history couldn’t have come at a bad time.
The Aces’ 123-72 rout suffered at the hands of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Wednesday night in the Governors Cup occurred just when rumors are circulating that the team is up for sale and will be bought by incoming expansion team NLEX.
Team manager Dickie Bachmann quickly shot down the reports, saying the proud franchise which had won 14 championships in all -- second winningest in league history – since entering the PBA in 1986 is definitely here to stay.
“It’s not true, it’s not true. But it’s basically, we’re here to stay, and we’re gonna try to salvage this conference,” Bachmann admitted to Spin.ph moments after the blowout against Rain or Shine.
And proof that the team is not about to turn its back on Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league, Bachmann said the franchise is now in the process of signing up its core players led by big man Sonny Thoss, and guards JV Casio and Cyrus Baguio to fresh, multi-year extension deals by next week.
“Three (players) will be signed, Sonny, JV, and Cyrus. I’’ll get it (contract signing) done next week. It’s ready. I talked to their agents. It’s all set already,” he added.
Asked if the Aces plan to beef up their coaching staff to help out rookie mentor Alex Compton, Bachmann said they are not expecting anymore movement for the rest of the season.
Instead, the amiable Alaska team official said the Aces intend to give their best and try to make a title run in the season-ending conference even though the team is struggling at the moment of making the playoffs with its 2-4 record.
“We’ll have to discuss (additional members in the coaching staff) that after the conference. Maybe when we have a long break because right now, we don’t have time, plus we have back-to-back games,” explained Bachmann, a member of the Alaska team that won the Grand Slam in 1996 season under then head coach Tim Cone.
“Actually, we just need to start to win and hopefully salvage this conference. Then, after this conference, we’ll start building again, coaching staff-wise,” he added.
Compton took over from Luigi Trillo just two weeks ago in a stunning coaching development within the team, just a season removed after winning the Commissioner’s Cup championship.