ALASKA assistant coach Louie Alas expressed some concern over the absence of three Aces stars during their recent training camp that ended last week at Hoops Center in Mandaluyong.
Not that he's complaining, though.
The Aces released Calvin Abueva, Sonny Thoss, and Dondon Hontiveros as well as head coach Alex Compton for national duty, tying them for most representatives in the current Gilas Pilipinas squad with Talk ‘N Text which lent Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, and Matt Ganuelas-Rosser, apart from coach Jong Uichico.
While he recognized that their absence is a sacrifice Alaska is willing to take, Alas admitted it will affect the progress of the squad once they return from the Fiba Asia Championship in China.
“Oo naman (we don’t mind). Kung kami (ganun rin gagawin namin) basta’t for flag and country,” the former national coach told Spin.ph after the Aces' practice on Tuesday afternoon also at Hoops Center.
“Kaya lang I’m worried kasi 'yung camp namin wala yung tatlong Gilas, ‘di ba, tapos pati si Chris Banchero,” he added. “Yun yung mahirap sa amin.”
Banchero, an incoming sophomore guard, was then in the US to attend to his sick child.
Without the four, the Aces underwent a grueling two-week, twice-a-day training camp from September 1 to 14 under renowned Australian coach Rob Beveridge, laying the groundwork for what they’ll do the entire season, before they returned to regular practice sessions.
At least the Aces will be running basically the same system predicated on a suffocating full-court defense.
“Wala naman problema dun sa system kasi we have almost the same system like last year,” said Alas, who has been conducting practice alongside Jeffrey Cariaso. “Parang ni-refresh lang. May konting pagbabago, pero related pa rin sa ginagawa namin.”
“‘Yun nga lang, hindi kami kumpleto, unlike last year, talagang kumpleto kami,” he added.
Alas admitted they won’t be complete until days before the PBA opens shop anew next month.
“Pag balik nila from Gilas, hindi pa agad sila makakasali sa training kasi pagod na pagod sila,” the affable mentor said. “Baka makumpleto lang kami pag dating ng game.”