2021 was a year of change for Alaska as familar faces moved to different teams, and new players coming in. Here are some of the notable events of the Aces this year.
TEAM ENTERS SAFETY PROTOCOLS
The Aces were forced to stop play for the meantime last September as the team entered the league’s health and safety protocols during their campaign in Bacolor, forcing them to miss two weeks of play. Once they returned, the Aces had to play three consecutive games to make up for their absence, going on to win one against Barangay Ginebra last September 17.
THREE WINS IN PHILIPPINE CUP
With a younger core compared to past seasons, Alaska missed the playoffs of the Philippine Cup, winning only three games after they ended their campaign with four straight losses including a 101-100 defeat over San Miguel in a game that saw Marcio Lassiter drilling a late three-pointer that decided the contest.
GAB BANAL’S BRIEF STAY
An MVP in the MPBL, Gab Banal found his way back to the PBA last February when he signed with Alaska for a one-conference deal. Banal had a steady campaign with the Aces, but his stay only lasted for nine months as he signed a two-year deal with TNT last November after he declined a short-term contract with the Aces.
Speaking of the 2013 title, the last remnant of that championship team in JVee Casio was traded last October, as he and Barkley Eboña were sent to Blackwater for Mike Tolomia, ending his nine-year stay with the Aces. Alaska also said goodbye to another member of that championship team in assistant coach Tony Dela Cruz, who decided to go back to the United States following the 2021 Philippine Cup campaign.
ALASKA SHIPS VIC MANUEL
Last February, the Aces moved their franchise player Vic Manuel to Phoenix in exchange of draft picks and Brian Heruela, who was eventually not signed by the team. The trade was an offshoot of Manuel’s desire to explore other options last January after the Aces offered him a one-year deal.
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