21 PBA Post Mortem (Sports)
May 20, 2013 10:51 pm
MANILA, May 20 -– Alaska Milk’s sweeping Commissioner’s Cup title conquest could be the sweetest for the Fred Uygtengsu franchise, sweeter, maybe, than the Grandslam the Milkmen fashioned out seven years ago in 1996.
For one, it ended a three-year title draught the Aces suffered three years after the Aces won last in the Fiesta Conference of the PBA 2010 season.
And it came via a 3-0 sweep of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, undoubtedly the most popular ballclub in the country the past several decades, whose franchise is owned by giant food and soft drinks conglomerate San Miguel Corporation.
SMC, incidentally, also owns the San Mig Coffee ffranchise, which only two years ago pirated former Alaska coach Tim Cone, the guy who, in more than 20 years of partnership with Uytengsu, gifted the latter his previous 13 Conference championships, matching the record once owned by the legendary Crispa Redmanizers of the Danny Floro-Baby Dalupan manager-coach tandem.
The Aces’ 3-0 conquest of the Gin Kings, could be the most-lopsided in a title playoff. Games 1 and 2 were decided as early as in the first half, while Game 3 had the largest margin of 24 points, 104-80.
Game 1 also saw the Aces limited the Kings to six points in the first quarter , an all-time low in in any quarter of a championship playoff.
Their 14 championships gave the Aces the distinction of becoming the only second team to win more than 13 crowns, the first being San Miguel Beer, which now carries the banner Petron, which, so far, has 19.
What made the title conquest more significant is it was made possible by a rookie coach Luigi Trillo, a 14-year understudy of Cone and son of 25-year team manager Joaqui Trillo
Luigi, who succeeded Joel Banal, who took over Cone briefly one and-a-half conferences ago, attributed Alaska championship triumph to a strong foundation built after his former coach left that saw the team took an aging Dondon Hontiveros, R.J. Jazul, Gabby Espinas and Jayvee Casiao from the trading market and fresh-from-college draftee Calvin Abueva.
“These three guys are character guys,” Luigi told media men in the traditional post-game press conference.
Hontiveros and company, along with Rob (import Rob Dozier), Luigi added, came and readily jelled with old hands Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio, team captain Tony dela Cruz, and even Eddie Laure and Samigue Eman to form a combination that emerged the top team in the elimination round, survived Air 21 in the quarterfinals and San Mig in the semifinals.
The road to the finals wasn’t easy, Luigi confessed. “We went into some pains, especially me. I have to hurdle several trials like my unsuccessful stint with Adamson University, which I believe helped when I handled Cebuana Lhullier in the D-League (PBA’s Developmental League).”
“Suerte kami kay Rob, then of course, there’s Calvin, the two most consistent guys prior to the finals and in the finals,” he said. “Fatigue though settled for Ginebra, which had to come from a 04-start in the elims and hurdled Rain or Shine (in the quarterfinals) and Talk ‘N Text (in the semis).”
“Mark (Caguioa) wasn’t 100 percent si Macklin (Ginebra reinforcement Veron Macklin) had injury,” Luigi said. “We were a little bit lucky taking the business early (in the title playoff).”
The young Trillo was profuse in thanking Uytengsu and father Joaqui for their all-out support.
“I’m very happy and lucky for my Dad,” Luigi said. “Our father –and-son tandem had a pressure on me. Kasi boss ko siya at parang nakakahiya, di ba? But he really supported me through and through.” (PNA)