FROM almost champions in the first conference, Alaska almost missed the playoffs in the second, and now the Aces hope to address the decline in performance as the final tournament of the season gets going.
Alaska plays on opening day of the Governors’ Cup, battling expansion squad Blackwater on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska was runner-up in the Philippine Cup, managed to reach the Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals but was swept 2-0 by powerhouse Purefoods Star Hotshots.
Alaska finished with a 5-8 record in the second conference and Cyrus Baguio, among the leaders of the squad, still couldn’t find the words to describe the debacle.
“Iyung nangyari sa amin last conference, di ko alam kung ano. Sana maibalik namin yung ginawa namin sa All-Filipino, lalo na sa defense namin at transition game namin,” said Baguio, one of Alaska’s acknowledged leaders.
Alaska is hoping to get a big lift from Israeli League MVP Romeo Travis, a former high school teammate and childhood friend of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James.
“Sana maka-jell na rin sa amin yung import namin. Eh lalo na ang lalakas ng mga imports ngayon saka may mga malalaki din,” noted Baguio, whose team is currently 1-1 in scrimmage games in the conference break.
“Feeling ko may pagka-beterano na rin si Romeo. Matagal na din siya naglalaro at marami na rin siyang mga lugar na napaglaruan,” explained the 34-year-old former University of Santo Tomas stalwart.
Travis is coming off an impressive stint with the Krasny Oktyabr in the Russian league marked by averages of 11.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.2 assist in 24 games.
Since turning pro in 2007, the 31-year-old former University of Akron forward has played in countries like Israel, Croatia, Ukraine and most recently, Russia.