Alex Compton resigns as Alaska coach

Alex Compton, left, will be passing the coaching chores of Alaska to Jeffrey Cariaso. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

TAGUIG--Alex Compton stepped down as head coach of Alaska in a stunning development on Thursday.

After five years of leading the way for the Aces, Compton decided to step down from the coaching job with only nine days left before his contract is supposed to expire.

The former MBA star and one-time PBA import bared that team owner Fred Uytengsu wanted a new direction to the franchise, which has won 14 PBA championships but only one since longtime mentor Tim Cone left the squad.

"Yesterday at his house, a man I deeply respect, Fred Uytengsu, sat down with me, looked me in the eye, and asked me to step down. I agreed to his decision and have agreed to resign as head coach of the Alaska Aces," Compton said in a statement.

On the other hand, Uytengsu rued the latest coaching shakeup at his franchise.

"We are sorry to see Alex leave the team.... He had a tremendous impact on the team and was very concerned with the players well being on and off the court," said the Alaska owner, who then said that the club is "grateful that Alex stepped aside to pave the way for someone else to lead the Aces to our next championship."

Under Compton, the Aces made the finals five times, but they lost all those series, the most painful of which was in the 2016 Philippine Cup Finals, when they squandered a 3-0 series lead--and an 11-point lead with 3:31 left in the fourth quarter of Game 4--and lost to the San Miguel Beermen, becoming the first basketball team ever to lose a best-of-seven playoff series despite the 3-0 edge.

Jeffrey Cariaso, a member of the 1996 Alaska squad that won the rare grand slam, will step in as the new head coach.

"[It is] truly a blessing to elevate into this level of leadership," said Cariaso, who already had a head coaching gig before as Ginebra's chief tactician during the 2014 season.

"He has the full trust of [the] management and we trust the team will likewise work hard to support him," added Uytengsu.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno