ALASKA coach Alex Compton said it was hard to part ways with old reliable Gabby Espinas, but knows opportunity will arise for the veteran forward in his new home at Globalport.
Compton said the Aces’ surplus of big men made it difficult for him to find playing minutes for the left-handed Espinas, who is on a comeback trail after undergoing foot surgery last year.
As things stand now, Alaska has a frontline roster rotating on Sonny Thoss, Eric Menk, Vice Manuel and undersized forward Calvin Abueva.
Until he was sidelined by injury, Espinas was a vital part of Alaska’s big men lineup, serving as chief backer of Thoss when the Aces won the Commissioner’s Cup title two years ago.
“You can’t give everybody the playing time they deserve, so from the outside looking in, I think Globalport needed a post scorer, and Gabby is a great post scorer,” Compton told Spin.ph Saturday following the Aces’ practice at the Gatorade Hoops Center.
“We have lots of big men and Gabby is a good big man, valuable for us. But at some point, when you see you can only give a certain guy a certain amount of playing time and you know he can play more and show his real value, you don’t wanna get on his way at the same time,” he added.
At Globalport, Compton sees Espinas thriving and getting more playing time, something the former Philippine Christian University standout has failed to get with Alaska in the ongoing mid-season conference.
The improved plays of Manuel and the addition of Menk last season has made Espinas expendable.
The 33-year-old Espinas is averaging career-low numbers of 3.1 points and 2.6 rebounds in just 12 minutes of play this conference.
Meantime, Compton considers Baclao possibly more as a project player, who could make his contributions sometime in the future.
“Noy will be a welcome addition, but it would be a hard situation for him this conference because with three games left, he has to find everything, and we have to see how he really fits in,” explained Compton, who turns 41 on Monday.
“We’re kinda believers in earning your minutes, so we’ll see where he fits in,” he added.
“From what I understand, he’s a good kid, a good teammate, and a good defender.”