AFTER years of struggle, Alaska has rediscovered the winning combination as far as personnel is concerned.
Now it's not about to break it up.
Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said the team wants to build on the “strong chemistry” it has forged during a dream run to the championship in the last PBA Commissioner's Cup and is determined to keep the current roster intact for a long period of time.
Trillo said the team has already extended the contracts of veteran guard Dondon Hontiveros, Eddie Laure, Samigue Eman, and backup playmaker RJ Jazul.
High-flying guard Cyrus Baguio and Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP Sonny Thoss still have live contracts that have one more year to run, and Trillo said they intend to keep them for the long haul.
“We value all our guys. We’ve been having a great run thus far so we want to keep the team intact from top to bottom,” Trillo told Spin.ph on Thursday.
"Again, chemistry is great that’s why this offseason, our priority really is to take care of the guys with expiring contracts."
The outspoken Alaska mentor said chemistry is something that is built over time - something Alaska learned during the time of the multi-titled Alaska teams in the nineties built around the core of Johnny Abarrientos, Jojo Lastimosa, and Bong Hawkins.
Behind the inspired plays of Best Import awardee Robert Dozier, Thoss, guard JV Casio, Baguio and energetic rookie Calvin Abueva, the Aces finished the Commissioner’s Cup with an 18-4 record overall.
It was Alaska’s first title since the 2010 Fiesta Conference. The championship also marked a first for the Aces, who just last season, could only win 11 games while adjusting to life with the departure of longtime coach Tim Cone.
Seven Alaska players will be sent by the team to a 10-day training camp at the Impact Basketball Center in Las Vegas run by well-known trainer Joe Abunassar.
The players bound for Vegas are RJ Jazul, Gabby Espinas, Raphi Reyes, Sam Eman, Dondon Hontiveros, Paolo Bugia and Aldrech Ramos.
They will then link up with the rest of the team in Los Angeles on July 15 as part of the bonus given by team owner Wilfred Uytengsu to the team for their Commissioner’s Cup title conquest.