JEFFREY Cariaso will be the one calling the shots for Alaska in its season-opening game against Rain or Shine on Sunday, but it's not because he is the team's new head coach.
The Aces have entrusted the reins to the 1995 Rookie of the Year, who is the team's head assistant coach, for the 4:30 p.m. duel against the Elasto Painters at Mall of Asia Arena.
Cariaso handled Alaska's training camp during the offseason and was the one who prepared the gameplan for the Rain or Shine game in lieu of head coach Alex Compton, who was in the United States attending to an important family matter.
Compton, though, will be present for Alaska's debut in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup after arriving to the country on Saturday night from Wisconsin.
Rumors swirled last month of Cariaso's apparent succession at the helm for Alaska, though team owner Wilfred Uytengsu vehemently denied the talks and assured that Compton is still calling the shots for his squad.
The 44-year-old Compton has steered the Aces to five championship appearances since taking over in 2014, though he has yet to hoist the trophy in all of those trips.
Alaska will be without injured main guys Vic Manuel (back), Simon Enciso (knee), and JVee Casio (foot), as well as the recovering Chris Banchero and Simon Enciso for the tiff.
Making their PBA debuts in the game for the Aces, however, are rookies MJ Ayaay of Lyceum and Gboy Babilonia of Ateneo.