LUIGI Trillo is not ashamed to say where he came from.
“Those were very dark years. You can say I learned the ropes the hard way,” the young Alaska coach said on Tuesday night after beating out PBA Grand Slam winners Norman Black and Tim Cone for the PBA Press Corps’ coveted Coach of the Year award.
“It is just an honor for me and my family to even be mentioned in the same breath as coach Norman and coach Tim,” Trillo continued after his exploits were feted during the PBAPC’s “A Banquet of Heroes” Awards Night at Wack Wack Golf Club.
“This award is also indicative of the great team that we have at Alaska, from Fred (Uytengsu, the team owner) who has molded me into the coach that I am, to my coaching staff, the players and everyone else,” Trillo continued after receiving the trophy named after the legendary Baby Dalupan.
Team PBA, after a smashing take of over P200 million at the tills the past season, was the unanimous choice as Executive of the Year with past chairman Robert Non of Barangay Ginebra and commissioner Chito Salud receiving the trophy named after the late Crispa bossman Danny Floro.
Marc Pingris of San Mig Coffee was the MyPhone Defensive Player of the Year, receiving his trophy from Patrick Adrianne Cabusay, the marketing communications officer of Myphone, while Gary David, who was with Globalport last season, was the Scoring Champ for the second straight year.
Marcio Lassiter of Petron Blaze was the Bogs Adornado Comeback Player of the Year; Jervy Cruz of Rain or Shine Mr. Quality Minutes while Chris Tiu of Rain or Shine, Alex Mallari of San Mig and Cliff Hodge of Meralco joined June Mar Fajardo of Petron and Calvin Abueva of Alaska in the All-Rookie Team.
Barangay Ginebra’s LA Tenorio won the Accel Order of Merit award for the most number of Player of the Week citations the past season with three.
Trillo was a gamble Uytengsu took. Despite a horrid record with Adamson in the UAAP, Trillo delivered a title for the Aces in just his third Conference at the helm, guiding the franchise to a 4-0 sweep of Barangay Ginebra in the Commissioner’s Cup Finals.