JOJO Lastimosa was one of the cornerstones of the Alaska franchise during the 1990s under head coach Tim Cone where they captured a rare grand slam in 1996 together with Johnny Abarrientos and Bong Hawkins.
Jojo Lastimosa trade to Alaska details
Arguably, the success of Alaska began when the ballclub pulled off a trade that brought Lastimosa to the Milkmen in exchange of Elmer Cabahug in 1991. The trade bore fruit as the franchise finally won their first PBA title in the Third Conference when they beat Ginebra, 3-1.
“I think it was a game changer for me,” said Lastimosa in an interview with SPIN.ph when recently asked to look back at the trade.
Prior to Alaska, Lastimosa was already enjoying success with Purefoods when he teamed up with Alvin Patrimonio and Jerry Codiñera. He won his first PBA title in the 1990 Third Conference where the Hotdogs, coached by Baby Dalupan, beat Cone and Alaska, 3-2, in their series.
Even with the championship, taking the Rookie of the Year honors at the end of that season, and being the team captain of that team, Lastimosa felt he needed a change of scenery.
“I really wanted to be out with Purefoods during that time. I felt like I wasn’t being coached. I really wanted to be coached,” said Lastimosa.
Lastimosa said he wanted to level up with his playing career, and for it to happen, he needed a coach who will help him work on his game to improve.
And Cone gave Lastimosa that.
“When I went to Alaska at that time with coach Tim, I felt it was the first time in my life that I was coached well and I was coached hard,” said Lastimosa.
“For me as a player, if I want to improve, I knew I needed somebody to teach me. And Tim was that coach,” said Lastimosa.
Alaska, however, didn’t enjoy consistent success following the 1991 title. They would win their next crown in the 1994 Governors’ Cup. Two years after that, Alaska won the rare grand slam.
Lastimosa said it was the patience of Cone and the franchise that got them back to the top.
“We were in a rebuilding mode when I got there. We won right away and they revamped the team and we got younger. We had some growing pains. He (Cone) wasn’t that good at the beginning so he learned through our losses before. He knew how to adjust and he adapted and then, he got the right players,” said Lastimosa.