LOUIE Alas returns as PBA head coach starting next season after being hired by Phoenix.
Reliable sources confirmed to SPIN.ph Alas' appointment on Thursday, taking over the position of former coach Ariel Vanguardia.
Phoenix management led by team governor Atty. Raymund Zorillo later made the announcement official in a statement sent to various media outlets.
"After evaluating the performance of the team this past season, Mssrs Ariel Vanguardia and Justino Pinat have earlier stepped down from their coaching positions with the best interest of the team in mind," said Zorilla.
"With this development, management has appointed Messrs Louie Alas and Topex Robinson as head coach and aasociate head coach, respectively."
Alas, who is currently on vacation with his family in Hong Kong, is set to sign a three-year contract on Friday upon his arrival.
The move to Phoenix ends Alas' long association with Alaska, where was the team's lead deputy since 2012, first with Luigi Trillo and then with Alex Compton.
Serving as assistant to Trillo, Alas won a championship with the Aces during the 2013 PBA Commissioner's Cup when they swept Barangay Ginebra in the finals, 3-0.
Alas will be bringing with him at Phoenix fellow Alaska deputy Topex Robinson while keeping the services of Nic Belasco.
Prior to accepting the Alaska job, the former Adamson standout was head coach of TnT Katropa from 2000 to 2002.
Alas, a former national mentor, was also a successful coach at Letran, which he steered to two NCAA championships and with the Manila Metro Stars in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA), where he won a title with Compton as his key player along with Romel Adducul.
"Said coaches represents two of the brightest coaching minds in the game today and we feel fortunate that they will be leading the future of our team as well as other basketball related activities," said Zorilla.
"Management is elated with these changes and are expecting a different Fuel Masters team in terms of attitude, passion, intensity, and pride in each game they play in Asia's oldest professional basketball league."