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PBA: Alaska upbeat after recalling import

By WAYLON GALVEZ

Manila, Philippines – Alaska Milk is bringing back import Jason Fort, and newlyappointed coach Luigi Trillo is optimistic the former Southern Mississippi stalwart can help the Aces push for a playoff spot in the season-ending PBA Governors’ Cup starting May 21.

“He has a great work ethic, he’s a wonderful teammate,“ said Trillo, who was named interim coach following the resignation of Joel Banal.

Forte is arriving next week.

Forte first played for the Aces last season, his second stint in the PBA after initially playing for Air21 in 2010. He helped Alaska to a third place finish after averaging 23.1 points, a leaguebest 16.6 rebounds and 1.2 shot blocks in 13 games.

With the 6-foot-4 Forte reuniting with guards LA Tenorio and Cyrus Baguio, forward Tony dela Cruz, and center Sonny Thoss, Trillo said they have the ingredients to compete in the third conference against league heavyweights like Talk `N Text, B-Meg, Ginebra and defending champion Petron Blaze.

“He’s a proven leader. So it’s going to be an exciting first conference for me with Jason as our reinforcement. Plus we have the regular members of the team. But we have to prepare well in such a short conference,“ said Trillo.

Under Banal, Alaska failed to qualify in the playoffs of the Philippine Cup, but made up for it when the Aces advanced to the quarterfinals of the Commissioner’s Cup.

However, they were eliminated by Barako Bull in the do-or-die Game 3.

That led to the resignation of Banal, ending a short coaching stint with the Alaska franchise.

Cone left Alaska after 23 years, 23 finals appearances and 13 PBA titles. He eventually signed up with B-Meg, which made it to the best-of-seven Finals of the Commissioner’s Cup against defending champion Talk ‘N Text.

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