ALASKA ACES TO LEAVE PBA AFTER MORE THAN THREE DECADES
Alaska Milk Corporation announced on Wednesday, February 16, that its team Alaska Aces will leave the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) after 35 years.
Alaska Aces have been running the ball since 1986 where they won 14 championships including a rare grand slam the team announced with a ‘heavy heart’ on their Facebook page.
“After more than three decades of basketball, 14 titles, and a grand slam, it is with a heavy heart that Alaska Milk Corporation (AMC) announces the retirement of its Alaska Aces team from the PBA,” the team said.
The current Governor’s Cup will be the Aces’ final tournament before they bid farewell, and although it was a difficult choice, Aces owner Fred Uytengsu said that it would always be ‘special’ to him.
“It was a really, really, really hard decision,” said Uytengsu, his voice breaking in an online conference late Wednesday morning. He however added that “I knew when I sold the company that this would happen.”
“The Aces franchise will always be very special to me. I had the good fortune of starting this franchise at the age of 24 and learned so much about team dynamics and building championship teams from the players and coaching staff,” Uytengsu said.
News of the retirement of Alaska in PBA started when Dutch dairy giant FrieslandCampina bought out the controlling shares of the Alaska Milk Corporation in 2012.
However, Uytengsu hoped that there will be a new company that will buy the whole Alaska franchise to keep its promising players Jeron Teng, Abu Tratter, Mike DiGregorio, Maverick Ahanmisi, and Robbie Herndon.
If there is no bidder, everyone will be dispersed according to PBA regulations, along with Allyn Bulanadi, RK Ilagan, Ben Adamos, Alec Stockton, Taylor Browne, and Jaycee Marcelino.
“There are no immediate buyers at this point in time but it remains a possibility that we can sell our team, our franchise to another company if they want to come in at the end of the season,” Uytengsu said.
“If there is not a buyer at that time, the franchise will revert to the PBA, and pursuant to the bylaws of the PBA, then the players will go into a dispersal draft” Uytengsu added.