ALASKA guard JV Casio feels the Aces have lost some of the competitive fire after winning the Commissioner’s Cup last season and they hope to regain the killer instinct early as they prepare for their title defense.
The Aces fell, 89-94, to the Barako Bull Energy on Thursday in the pro league's first pre-tournament game before the start of import-laced conference set to start on the first week of March.
They Said It!
“We have to get the fire back." Alaska point guard JV Casio
Casio, the 5-foot-10 Alaska playmaker, said they are using tuneup matches like that as a way to hopefully rediscover the championship fire.
"Medyo nag-mellow siguro yung team after the championship, so we have to get the fire back. Yun ang gusto ni coach Luigi (Trillo)," Casio told Spin.ph after the team's five-point loss to the Energy at the Gatorade Hoops Center.
The Aces are also hopeful that comebacking import Robert Dozier could get himself into shape after a 10-month layoff.
"Alam na namin ano ang kaya niyang (Dozier) gawin. Kami, we just need to do what we need to do. Saka importante, mag-grow kami together," added the former Smart Gilas mainstay, who averaged 15.06 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists in the Philippine Cup.
Alaska, which compiled a league-best 18-4 win-loss record on the way to the Commissioner's Cup crown last season, will be leaving on Friday for Cebu to join a four-team pocket tournament.
Alaska will be playing in the round-robin meet against Talk 'N Text bannered by NBA D-League veteran Richard Howell, Globalport, led by comebacking import Evan Brock, as well as a Cebu local squad.