THE ‘young once’ certainly deserve some rest.
Alaska was quick to doused rumor it has let go of veterans Dondon Hontiveros and Eric Menk after the names of the two were conspicuously not included in the team’s official roster for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Coach Alex Compton said the team has given both players the permission to sit out a few of the Aces’ coming games in the mid-season tournament to give their bodies ample time to recover from a gruelling best-of-seven finals series in the last Philippine Cup.
Hontiveros is 38 years old while Menk is 41. The two are the most senior players in an Alaska lineup whose average age is 28.
“We are giving them ample time to rest and recover because we value them and do not want them to get injured,” explained Compton. “Dondon and Eric are veterans who work extremely hard every day. They just played into a Game 7 of the PBA finals and left everything they had on the floor.”
In their place, the Aces elevated to the active roster rookies Kevin Racal and Marion Magat.
Hontiveros was with Compton and teammates Sonny Thoss and Toni dela Cruz during the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Annual Awards Night last week to receive the President's Award for Gilas Pilipinas.
Alaska deputy Louie Alas said Hontiveros and Menk still attend the team’s practices at the Hoops gym but ‘not on a regular basis.’
He added it was a consensus decision made by the team.
“Here in Alaska, it’s always a team decision. We Not Me,” said Alas, borrowing the quote from the franchise’s well-known mantra.
But Compton said he expects Hontiveros and Menk to be back in the regular lineup the soonest possible time.
“We look forward to having them back in the lineup once they are fully rested and have their legs under them,” said the American mentor.
The Aces play their first game in the import-laden tournament on Friday against Mahindra at the Mall of Asia Arena. It’s the first time the team is seeing action since losing the decisive Game 7 of the All-Filipino title series against San Miguel.
Back for another tour of duty with the team is former Best Import Rob Dozier.