To give management an opportunity to explore coaching alternatives, Joel Banal stepped aside over the weekend as Alaska Aces mentor, allowing the team to pick Luigi Trillo as interim coach.
Banal met with team owner Wilfred Uytensu and General Manager Joaqui Trillo last Friday to discuss the situation.
Thanking Alaska for giving him the opportunity to serve as head coach, Banal said the goal of the franchise is to be in the semifinals of every conference and since they did not meet the goal, he wants the management to look at its options.
Uytengsu loaded Banal's selflessness, citing the latter's professionalism in setting aside his own interest.
Banal thanked Alaska for giving him the opportunity to serve as head coach.
The Aces finished 9th in the First Conference and failed to advance past the quarterfinals in the Second Conference with three key players missing in the lineup -- team captain Tony de la Cruz and Brandon Cablay, who were both out due to back surgeries, and Wesley Gonzalez who was still recovering from knee surgery and only saw action in the middle of the conference. Hans Thiele and Ariel Mapana were also out with lower back ailments.
Uytengsu and Trillo met with Aces assistant coaches Jojo Lastimosa and Luigi Trillo who were the main candidates for the interim position.
”Both Jolas and Luigi are long-time members of the franchise and they understand our philosophy, values and systems so it made sense we would appoint from within our organization,” Trillo said.
Uytensu said it was a tough choice since both Lastimosa and Luigi Trillo have a lot to offer.
The management chose Luigi because he has had head coaching experience in the PBL and the D League, Uytengsu said, adding that Joaqui inhibited himself in the final decision because he was conflicted being Luigi's father.
“I believe Jojo will continue to be a team player and because he has a lot to offer from his playing experience and also wants to see the Aces resume its winning tradition," Uytengsu said.
This will be the first time a father-son tandem will manage and coach a team in the PBA. Dicky Bachmann will continue to split duties as an assistant coach and assistant manager to the team.
"I'd like to thank Mr. Uytengsu and the Alaska organization for entrusting me with this position. Alaska has a winning tradition and we look forward to the challenges ahead. We can't wait to get started," Luigi Trillo said.
The Aces also announced they will be bringing back Jason Forte as their import for the third conference.
"Jason is very excited to be coming back. He told us he has unfinished business here and wants to help bring us to the Finals," Joaqui Trillo said.
Forte brought the Aces to a tie for the second spot in the finals of the Governor's Cup in 2011 but lost out due to the quotient system.*PNA
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