Alaska is not resting on its laurels after winning the PBA Commissioner’s Cup last week.
Rather, the team is embarking on a player-development program to make sure that the Aces continue to play at the highest level.
With this in mind, at least four players will undergo training next month in the United States.
RJ Jazul, rookies Aldrech Ramos and Raffy Reyes, and veteran Samigue Eman are scheduled to leave in the first week of July to train at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Team officials said it was owner Wilfred Uytengsu who initiated the training program for the four Aces as they appear to be playing significant roles for the team in the coming years.
“We want these players to continue improving. They are young, they are full of potential,” said team manager Dickie Bachmann, successor to Joaqui Trillo who will stay as team representative to the PBA Board of Governors.
Last week, Alaska bagged its 14th overall title by sweeping Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the Commissioner’s Cup best-of-five finals series.
The championship was the first under coach Luigi Trillo, and first since the 2010 Fiesta Cup.
The title was also Alaska’s first in the post-Tim Cone era. Cone severed ties with the ball club when he left in September 2011 after 23 years and 13 championships, and later joined San Mig Coffee which the Aces defeated in the semifinals.
Jazul, a 6-foot shooting guard from Letran, played a key role in Trillo’s rotation in their championship run as he scored 16 points off the bench with four three-pointers in the Aces’ 87-70 Game 1 win.
Reyes, Ramos and Eman played sparingly in the series, but all three are expected to see more action next conference in the Governors’ Cup, which starts August 14. All teams are allowed to have an import not taller than 6-foot-5.
On the other hand, PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals MVP Sonny Thoss, Gabby Espinas and rookie sensation Calvin Abueva will leave for China next month to undergo rehab from various injuries. Bachmann said the three will stay in China for two weeks. (Waylon Galvez)