Cariaso, Alaska making most of last chance together in PBA
MANILA, Philippines—Jeffrey Cariaso has the difficult job of rallying his team in the ongoing PBA Governors’ Cup in the aftermath of Alaska’s decision to leave the league entirely after the conference.
One of the team’s greatest ever players, Cariaso has held the Aces’ coaching reins since 2019 but they are now facing an uncertain future as they still don’t know where they will go at season’s end.
Nevertheless, Cariaso is doing what he can to reassure his players as they gun for a possible 15th championship.
“Yesterday was the day we will never forget because it was formally announced. I honestly did know a couple of days before that and I was the only one on our team who knew,” said Cariaso after the Aces’ 80-74 win over Rain or Shine Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“That allowed me to help prepare what I wanted to talk to the team about to stay motivated. Yes, we did not know pretty much until yesterday.”
Cariaso said he and his team took some time to process Alaska team owner Wilfred Uytengsu’s announcement on Wednesday that the club will be leaving the PBA.
Alaska joined the league in 1989 eventually becoming on of the greatest sides in PBA history winning 14 titles, including the 1996 Grand Slam.
Cariaso, for his part, won six championships with the team and was part of the 1996 lineup that won the triple crown.
His achievements made him one of the club’s icons and he is one of six Aces who had their jersey retired with the other five being Jojo Lastimosa (6), Johnny Abbarientos (14), Bong Hawkins (16), Sean Chambers (20), Bogs Adornado (33).
“We have an opportunity to win our 15th title, why can’t we go out and strive for the last one,” said Cariaso. “This is our last chance together, why not go out and do it.”