AFTER 36 years, 14 championships, and a spectacular Grand Slam in the 90's, the Alaska franchise is off to its own "last dance" in the PBA, hoping to end the ongoing Governors' Cup conference in a high note.
Lots of basketball fans (even those who cheered for other teams) were confused and heartbroken over the storied team's upcoming retirement from the PBA.
But none, perhaps, were more affected than the players, both past and present, who took to social media to share their sentiments and relive their memories.
Alaska players salute their team
Coach Topex Robinson chose the sentimental road, posting throwback photos, including his championship with them.
"From a 'has been' to a PBA champion," he wrote. "GOOD ENOUGH, NEVER IS. #WalaPaDingTatalosaALASKA"
Guard Mike DiGregorio uploaded an Instagram photo edit of himself in the Aces jerseys, taking pride in his role in an honorable team.
"Drive For 15," he said. "Proud to be an Alaska Ace. Franchise rich in tradition - built on hard work, integrity, & character. Grateful to be a part of the family! Laban hanggang sa huli!"
One of the greatest reinforcements of the age, Sean Chambers, wrote a lengthy Facebook post to air his appreciation for his time with the Milkmen. Chambers took part in seven of 14 championships of Alaska. Earlier today, he also guested in an episode of Spin.ph Zoom In to reminisce about the good times with the team.
"I haven’t found the right words to express my love and gratitude for Mr Uytengsu, my teammates, the Alaska family, fans and the entire PBA Family. ￼ My career/legacy in the Philippines, all the memories with my brothers/teammates and all the wonderful Filipinos that are still a huge part of my life," he said.
Now-Ginebra assistant coach, Richard Del Rosario, relived his days with the Aces.
"Professionalism. Integrity. Discipline. These values are sacred when you play for Fred Uytengsu and the Alaska Aces," he wrote in a tweet. "I’m sad to see this proud franchise bid farewell to the PBA but as the old saying goes, the memories will stay forever."
Big man Ken Bono, who was drafted by Alaska in 2007, also weighed in and showed his appreciation.
"I began my PBA journey with the Alaska franchise. Proud to have been part of a great basketball institution. Thank you, Alaska Aces," he said.
Jvee Casio, Nico Elorde, and JayR Reyes, who all had their own sweet stints with the Aces, also took the time to express gratitude to the franchise.
Ex-Alaska player Nic Belasco focused on how he experienced, firsthand, the class act of Uytengsu.
"I was saddened this morning to hear the news of Alaska pulling out of the PBA. I’ve been reflecting all day on the 5 years I spent with Alaska, full of great memories and 2 championship rings. Boss Fred set the bar high for running a classy franchise. It’s the end of an era," he said.
Jeron Teng, who's been with the Aces since his draft four years ago, didn't miss the chance to pen his own tribute.
"Grateful to Alaska for giving me a home for the last 4 years. It’s been an honor to play for the franchise. This will be our last conference as Alaska Aces," he said. "Will definitely make it count!"
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