MANILA, Philippines – Jeff Cariaso can only have his fingers crossed for a new company to retain the Alaska core as the Aces bid the PBA goodbye after 35 colorful seasons.
Alaska is in the process of selling its franchise to another company after the Aces announced in February that the ongoing Governors’ Cup will be their last conference in the PBA.
With no buyers, the players will instead go through a dispersal draft. (READ: What will happen to Alaska players as Aces bid PBA goodbye?)
“I hope they see the team that we’re starting to build,” Cariaso said after Alaska played its last game following an 80-96 quarterfinals loss to NLEX on Saturday, March 20. “I hope they see that this team is competitive.”
Cariaso said the Aces have engaged in “deep talks” with a prospective buyer, although he admitted that he is “out of the loop” in the negotiations.
While he hopes to continue coaching his squad, Cariaso added keeping the team together is the top priority.
“I want them to have at least an opportunity or a chance to be part of the same team,” Cariaso said. “Then it will be up to the buyer if we’re going to be retained, if we’re going to be part of that.”
Seeing Alaska fall just a win short of its first semifinal appearance since the 2018 Governors’ Cup, Cariaso believes the Aces are on their way to title contention.
Alaska, after all, has a bunch of steady veterans in Jeron Teng, Maverick Ahanmisi, Mike DiGregorio, Mike Tolomia, and Kevin Racal, and a bevy of up-and-coming players in Abu Tratter, Allyn Bulanadi, and RK Ilagan.
“I think this team just needs a few tweaks here and there,” Cariaso said.
“We’re just short of one or two pieces here and there. Our young vets are learning to play more consistently and stepping up in the big games.”
Cariaso said the future is bright for the Aces and the team only needs to stay together to become better.
“I hope that there is someone who is willing to take a risk with this team.” – Rappler.com