|Chot Reyes began his coaching career with Alaska. PBA Images|
MANILA—Chot Reyes' colorful career as a professional basketball coach could be traced to his days with Alaska.
Reyes was hired as an assistant coach for the then Air Force when Tim Cone took over as head coach.
However, following Cone's dispute with the Basketball Coaches Association of the Philippines, Reyes was given the interim coaching chores for Alaska in the 1991 PBA Philippine Cup, in which the team finished third place.
The impressive finish set up the Aces' title run in the Third Conference when Cone finally resolved his issues with BCAP and returned to the coaching staff.
Nine PBA titles, five Coach of the Year awards, and multiple national team callups later, Reyes, now with TNT and Gilas Pilipinas, could not help but be saddened following the news that the team where his coaching career took off would be leaving the league after the ongoing Governors' Cup.
"I'm deeply saddened by the turn of events, but I guess—like I said when I told my players today—that's life. We really can't tell," Reyes said on Wednesday night, hours after Alaska's shocking announcement.
[Related Story: Alaska leaving PBA after Governors' Cup]
The Tropang Giga had a scheduled game against the San Miguel Beermen at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City where the former won, 96-81.
Expressing his commiserations, Reyes added, "My heart goes out to Fred [Uytengsu] and all the management, players, and coaches of Alaska. It is a part of life."
Despite the Aces' impending departure from the league after 35 seasons, Reyes remains optimistic that the PBA will remain strong despite losing one of its modern-day strongholds.
"I'm pretty sure with the guidance of the board and the leadership of Commissioner Willie [Marcial], we will overcome it," Reyes further said.
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