Alaska coach Alex Compton remained optimistic though a number of his key players were sidelined by injury, as the 44th season of the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup opens on Sunday.
Compton confirmed that Vic Manuel, Chris Banchero, Jayvee Casio, Simon Enciso and veteran Sonny Thoss are dealing with their respective infirmities.
Alaska team physician Facundo Sun said that power forward Manuel would likely miss the entire elimination round of the Philippine Cup because of a back injury.
Banchero, who is recovering from a groin and hamstring injury and Thoss, who is nursing an injured leg, could be well enough to play on the February 3.
Enciso, who underwent knee surgery, is going to miss half of the elimination round while Casio’s injured leg is still under observation, according to Sun.
“It is always Alaska’s year to me. It is never about one guy,” Compton told The Manila Times on Thursday. “If it’s an individual sport, then it will be his year. He can score 88 or two a game. As long as we win, it doesn’t matter to me.”
Compton will rely on sophomores Jeron Teng, Davon Potts, Nonoy Baclao, Jake Pascual, Chris Exciminiano, Carl Bryan Cruz, as well as rookies Jesper Ayaay and Gideon Babilonia as the Aces face Rain or Shine on February 3 at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo in their first game.
Compton stressed that basketball is not about the individual.
“But this year, it still is about Alaska. Never has been and never will be. It’s team sport. Everybody is really important and there is some guys that produced more than the others but it will never be about one guy.”
Compton faltered in his fifth championship appearance with the Aces on December 22.