MORE than anything else, Luigi Trillo credits team effort for the best start in his young head-coaching career with Alaska.
The Aces are currently off to a hot start in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup and remain the only unbeaten team with a 4-0 (win-loss) record - early success which the 37-year-old Trillo said is a product of give-and-take.
“I think it’s a collective effort (among the coaching staff and players). They’ve allowed me to do my thing, but they also found ways to help me,” Trillo stressed to Spin.ph at the end of the team’s practice at the Gatorade Hoops Center in Mandaluyong City.
Trillo said the pressure of handling the Aces will always be there, considering he’s taking over a franchise that has been associated championships under former coach Tim Cone for more than two decades.
Cone has guided the franchise to 13 championships before stunning the basketball world two years ago when he decided to end his 22-year stint with Alaska to move to San Mig Coffee, which he led to last year’s Commissioner’s Cup crown.
Trillo admitted that what he is as a coach today he owed to Cone, for whom he served as deputy from 1999 to 2011.
“There’s no doubt that coach Tim has influenced me a lot in what I do,” said Trillo, who continues to use the triangle offense he inherited from Cone.
Yet at the same time, he’s very thankful to owner Wilfred Uytengsu who took him in as understudy to Cone at the young age of 24 almost 14 years ago, eventually offering him the challenging job of handling the Aces at the start of the league’s 38th season.
“There has been a lot of accountability and work. And he (Uytengsu) expects that. Fred called me up and offered me the (coaching) job. And you can’t say no to Fred. He’s not just my boss, but he’s ninong in my wedding,” said the former De La Salle point guard.
While Alaska may be on top, Trillo said this isn’t the time to celebrate, knowing the Aces still have a lot of ground to cover before reaching the Finals for the first time in the post-Cone era.
“There’s a lot of basketball games to be played but the structure and foundation give us a good chance to be competitive this season,” added Trillo.
Alaska tries to stretch its winning streak to five on Friday when the Aces clash with powerhouse Talk ‘N Text at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.