Jul 14, 2020

Aces pushing forward in non-stop season preparation

ENTERING the PBA return-to-training bubble, the Alaska Milk Aces are in shape. Uncertain is whether they're in "game shape."

The Aces were already well prepared for the grind before COVID-19 got in the way, sending PBA Season 45 to an abrupt halt after just one game on March 8.

But the Aces have never stopped training, sweating it out in the confines of their respective houses in video workouts presided by their trainers led by Gus Vargas.

"We're in shape," said Jeron Teng in his guesting on the pilot episode of The Philippine STAR's Beyond the Game with The Dean Monday.

There's no Alaska slow down during the quarantine, with head coach Jeff Cariaso himself a part of the drills.

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"He's a leader who leads by example," said Teng of Cariaso, supposedly in his first year to start a season as head coach of the Alaska Aces.

"He's also a good motivator. He talks to everyone, inspiring and motivating each one," Teng also said.

Before the pandemic hit the season, the Aces were raring to come out and aching to atone themselves from a poor season where their best finish was seventh place.

They made the playoffs in each conference in 2019 but failed to make it past the quarterfinals, stymied by various injuries.

But things look bright now, with their core players back in shape, including ace forward Vic Manuel who had had a breakout with the national team in the last Southeast Asian Games.

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Then there's Alaska's retooling of its lineup.

They're all raring to come out for redemption and a season to remember in Sonny Thoss' farewell ride in pro play.

Thoss is making a swansong at age 38.

With Thoss, Manuel and Teng, in the current lineup are Jvee Casio, Kevin Racal, Maverick Ahanmisi, Rodney Brondial, Robert Herndon, Abu Tratter, Mike Digregorio, Yutien Andrada, Jesper Ayaay and Abel Galliguez.(SB)