WILFRED Steven Uytengsu remained defiant after the Alaska Aces’ loss to San Miguel in the PBA Philippine Cup finals, confident that the team can get back from its feet following the historic defeat to the Beermen.
The Alaska team owner touched on his team’s loss to the Beermen in the recent PBA Finals during his nearly 20-minute keynote speech after he was named the Executive of the Year for his contributions to Philippine sports during the PSA Awards Night at One Esplanade.
After winning the prestigious PBA grand slam in 1996, Alaska found itself on the wrong side of history, squandering a 3-0 lead in the finals to lose to June Mar Fajardo-led San Miguel in the Philippine Cup Finals.
While he admitted the loss was a “bitter pill to swallow,” Uytengsu said he remains proud of what the team accomplished in reaching the all-Filipino finals.
“Over the last couple of weeks, a lot of people have wondered and a few have dared to ask me what happened. Believe me, it’s been a bitter pill to swallow not just for me but to the entire franchise," Uytengsu said.
“Coach (Alex) Compton has offered his anectodes, and from my perspective, I don’t think anyone expected us to even be in this last finals, much less be up 3-0 against a powerhouse San Miguel franchise, with or without June Mar Fajardo. He is a great player,” said Uytengsu.
Uytengsu said Alaska simply lost to a better team in San Miguel.
“The truth is that San Miguel is extremely talented and 10 deep. We had our chances in Game 4 and in Game 5. In Game 6, I didn’t think we gave ourselves the best shot, and in Game 7, I think we simply felt overwhelmed.
“I said in the press conference before the finals started that to be the best, you have to beat the best. We weren’t the best in the finals. San Miguel was. And they deserve the congratulations,” said Uytengsu.
Still, Uytengsu believes the Aces’ time will come, given the work the team puts in.
“Am I disappointed? Of course, I am. But I’m not deterred. I still believe our franchise is capable due to our work ethic and desire. They say you are measured by what you’ve accomplished, but you are defined by what you attempt. I’m proud of the Alaska Aces and how they are defined.
"And we will be back,” Uytengsu said.