ALASKA team owner Wilfred Uytengsu has urged the rest of the PBA teams to support the national team the way the franchise has been doing on a consistent basis.
“It’s also time that other companies step up their support of the national team as we have been doing since the mid-nineties,” said Uytengsu in a statement released after the blockbuster trade that involved the Aces and their former top point guard LA Tenorio.
For the past few days, the Aces have been taking the heat for their initial refusal to allow Tenorio and Sonny Thoss to play for Smart Gilas 2.0 in the coming Fiba Asia Cup. The two played significant roles in the Nationals’ successful title bid in the 34th William Jones Cup basketball tournament, where Tenorio emerged as MVP.
But Uytengsu has since relented and allowed Thoss to suit up for the national team again, although in a `limited basis.’
Ironically, Alaska has the most number of players in Gilas 2.0 with three in Tenorio, Thoss, and Mac Baracael.
“We believe the Fiba Asia Cup, (formerly known as the Stankovic Cup) in Japan later this month to be of less significance and do not see the need to contribute players. Nevertheless, we are making Sonny available for the Fiba Asia Cup on a limited basis,” Uytengsu added.
The top four teams in the FibA Asia Cup, however, gain outright berths to next year’s Fiba-Asia Men’s Basketball Championship.
With the new PBA season just around the corner, Uytengsu said the Aces need to prepare and focus more following a disappointing campaign last year, their first in the post-Tim Cone era.
“We need to focus on our campaign for the upcoming season given our sub-par performance last season and we need our players to be focused and healthy. I talked to the team about this right after our last game in June and the players committed to making the sacrifices necessary to regain competitiveness,” said the Alaska team owner.
“We want a team of players who will live by this commitment.”
At the same time, he wished Tenorio well with his new team, while welcoming to the fold new acquisition JV Casio.
“We wish LA well and thank him for his leadership while he was wearing an Aces jersey. He will be successful wherever he goes. At the same time, we believe JV can bring a lot of dynamism to our team and has the youth to have a long career with Alaska." Uytengsu added.