MANILA, Philippines – The Alaska Aces stunned the Philippine sports world on Wednesday morning, February 16, after team owner Wilfred Uytengsu announced the franchise’s looming retirement at the end of the 2022 PBA Governors’ Cup.
As expected, multiple players, legends, and sports personalities aired their thoughts on the heartbreaking exit of one of the PBA’s most successful and longest-tenured franchises in its history.
Among them are current Alaska star Jeron Teng and import Olu Ashaolu. (READ: What will happen to Alaska players as Aces bid PBA goodbye?)
Aces legend Sonny Thoss reposted on Instagram a simple throwback photo with the caption “Wala pa rin tatalo sa suporta.” (Nothing beats the support.)
Meanwhile, other Alaska mainstays like the legendary Dondon Hontiveros and current San Miguel stalwart Vic Manuel reposted a message from Blackwater strength and conditioning coach Aldo Panlilio.
“Sad day as a fan. JVee Casio, Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, and Dondon Hontiveros on Alaska were on another level,” he said in Filipino.
Other PBA personalities who penned their short tributes are current Blackwater interim head coach Ariel Vanguardia, the league’s official chief statistician Fidel Mangonon, and Rain or Shine co-owner Raymund Yu.
“One of the most professional, if not the most professional, franchises ever in the PBA, is bidding adieu. Sad day in the PBA. And ‘sad’ is even an understatement,” Mangonon said.
“I feel a genuine sadness with the departure of Alaska. Nothing but respect for a classy organization. Indeed, they won with integrity,” Yu chimed in.
Media personalities also gave their two cents on the saddening development, including former PBA commissioner Noli Eala, broadcasting icon Sev Sarmenta, TV host Cesca Litton, and New York Times bestselling author Rafe Bartholomew.
In Alaska’s stellar 35-year run, the Milkmen, now known as the Aces, earned 31 finals appearances with 14 championships – including a rare Grand Slam in 1996, good for second-best in league history behind the 27 titles of the San Miguel franchise. – Rappler.com