ALASKA assistant coach Jeffrey Cariaso was thrilled to reunite with fellow members of the 1996 Grand Slam team Johnny Abarrientos, Jojo Lastimosa, and Bong Hawkins during their first practice for the ‘Return of the Rivals’ exhibition game.
“Kulang pa,” said Cariaso as he rattled out names such as two-time PBA MVP Willie Miller, who will take part in the legends match. “It will be fun.”
True enough, several more former Alaska stars showed up on Friday, among them former league MVPs Kenneth Duremdes, Bogs Adornado and Willie Miller and grand slam winner Poch Juinio.
Alaska will be facing San Miguel in one of two games in the benefit game organized by the PBA Legends Foundation Inc. and UNTV.
Cariaso, 46, said practice brought back happy memories for members of what was regarded as the league's 'team of the nineties.'
“It was good. It was nice to see the guys. You can rekindle a little bit the feeling of being with the guys. Bumabalik ‘yung memories niyo,” Cariaso said.
Cariaso admitted not everyone was in shape for the exhibition game, but was happy with the concept of a reunion game for a cause.
“Medyo sumakit (katawan) the next day. Siyempre, we are not in the shape that we are used to be pero alam mo, masaya. I really love this idea and this opportunity to play together,” said Cariaso.
Cariaso said Alaska will be out to have fun and is not planning to run any plays for the match against San Miguel.
“We are just going to play. Walang plays. What’s going to come out natural, you’ll see. Kapag ganito, have fun lang and enjoy,” said Cariaso.