Coach E, Danny I, TDLC are Alaska’s aces up the sleeve
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 18, 2017 06:55 PM
Eric Altamirano is back in the PBA after 12 years
A season ago, Alaska was booted out of the quarterfinals in the Philippine Cup and failed to make the playoffs of both the reinforced conference.
That was the first season in recent memory that the Aces were not contending as just in 2015 to 2016, they made four Finals appearances.
Hoping to recapture some of that magic, they drafted Jeron Teng fifth overall and added Davon Potts in the second round of the 2017 PBA Draft.
Teng is a two-time UAAP champion, two-time Finals MVP, four-time Mythical selection, and former Rookie of the Year while Potts is a back-to-back champion.
Those two polished products are nothing but ready and raring to contribute to a battle-hardened core of Calvin Abueva, Chris Banchero, Jvee Casio, Vic Manuel, and Sonny Thoss.
That’s not the only place Alaska got busy with retooling, however.
With longtime coaches Louie Alas and Topex Robinson departing for Phoenix, head coach Alex Compton struck gold with their replacements. “I am really excited about the new coaches we have added to our coaching staff,” he said.
Now serving as Compton’s first lieutenant is Eric Altamirano who won two championships in the PBA as well as a historic title for National University in the UAAP. “He is a proven winner, a veteran coach, and a man of excellence,” the former said.
Tasked to oversee the big men including Manuel, Thoss, Noy Baclao, and Jake Pascual will be Danny Ildefonso who will be making a return to the PBA after retiring as a player in 2016. “He has always had a tremendous work ethic and now, he is already having a tremendous impact on the development of our big men,” Compton said of his new assistant who won eight championships and two MVPs.
Finally, 18-year veteran Tony Dela Cruz is now part of the staff and will be relied upon to relay the Aces’ trapping system to the likes of Teng and Potts. “He knows the ins and out of our system. He has already made a very smooth transition into coaching,” the head coach said of his player turned peer.
With all that, Alaska is nothing but confident that it will have a much-improved campaign all around this season. “We will get better,” Compton promised.
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