PBA: Yeng Guiao pays tribute to Alaska - 'Great team, great organization'

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2022 02:57 PM

NLEX coach Yeng Guiao (center) during their PBA Governors' Cup game against the Alaska Aces. PBA Images.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao (center) during their PBA Governors' Cup game against the Alaska Aces. PBA Images.

MANILA, Philippines -- "I will miss them."

NLEX coach Yeng Guiao paid tribute to the Alaska Aces on Wednesday night, praising the culture and tradition of the Wilfred Uytengsu-owned franchise as they continue their "last dance" in the PBA.

Alaska will leave the PBA at the end of the Governors' Cup, ending over three decades of participation in the professional ranks that has seen them win 14 championships, including a Grand Slam.

On Wednesday night, the Road Warriors handed them their first loss since the shock announcement, with import KJ McDaniels and Jericho Cruz spearheading a 106-89 triumph. But Guiao was all class afterward, and praised the Alaska players and coaching staff for how they have handled the news of their exit.

"They've been playing very well in spite of the load they've been carrying, the burden they've been carrying," noted Guiao. "Mahirap maglaro ng uncertain 'yung future mo, ng mga players. But they've been very professional."

"Coach Jeff Cariaso has been doing a great job," he added.

Before their loss to NLEX, Alaska had won three straight games including a come-from-behind 102-97 triumph against TerraFirma last week. They threatened to make the same rally against NLEX, trimming what had been a 29-point lead to just 14 points with still under six minutes to go.

But back-to-back three-pointers by Cruz doused the Alaska rally, and NLEX went on to win comfortably and improve their record to 6-3.

Guiao was still full of praise for their beaten opponents, saying: "I'll miss Alaska… It's a great team, it's a great organization."

"The tradition and the culture, and the integrity of Wilfred Uytengsu, I will miss them," he added.

Alaska dropped to 5-3 with the defeat to NLEX, but is still in contention for a spot in the quarterfinals.