MANILA, Philippines – One of the most storied PBA franchises is leaving the league.
Alaska announced on Wednesday, February 16, that it is retiring from the PBA after nearly four decades that saw the Aces capture 14 championships, including a rare Grand Slam.
“We thought long and hard before making this final decision. However, we believe that this will allow us to focus our resources on providing affordable nutrition for Filipino families,” said Alaska team owner Fred Uytengsu.
The ongoing Governors’ Cup will be the Aces’ last conference in the league.
Although it is still unknown what will happen to its team once it is disbanded, Alaska vowed to help ease the transition of its players, coaching staff, and other personnel.
“Rest assured, we will ensure that each one of them will be taken care of as they transition into a new chapter in their careers,” the Aces said.
Alaska joined the PBA in 1986 and immediately turned into a playoff contender, reaching at least the quarterfinals in each of the nine conferences of its first three seasons and making the finals twice.
Under the tutelage of Tim Cone, who took over as head coach in 1989, the Aces captured their first title in the 1991 Third Conference and won eight more before the turn of the millennium, bagging a Grand Slam in 1996.
The team won its 14th and last PBA crown in the 2012-2013 Commissioner’s Cup.
Alaska also produced several PBA legends, including Johnny Abarrientos, Kenneth Duremdes, Bogs Adornado, Jojo Lastimosa, and Abet Guidaben, who were all inducted to the 25 Greatest PBA Players list.
Overall, the Aces reached the finals 31 times and currently ranks second all-time in championships won tied with the Magnolia franchise.
“The Aces franchise will always be very special to me. I had the good fortune of starting this franchise at the age of 24 and learned so much about team dynamics and building championship teams from the players and coaching staff,” Uytengsu said.
“We take great pride in our participation and success all these years and know we won with integrity. I always want to thank the PBA for our many years of partnership and wish the league continued success in the years to come.” – Rappler.com