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PBA: Aces pin hopes on Chambers


By Tito Talao

Los Angeles – Trades and free agency not being immediate options for them to acquire big men, the Alaska Aces are looking to shore up their undersized frontline from within.

Aces team manager Dickie Bachmann, the incoming PBA vice chairman, said Monday here that they will be focusing on individual skills training for 6-foot-9 Sonny Thoss, 6-foot-5 Noy Baclao and their post players to work on ways to offset their heft and height deficit when facing opponents with big, dominant centers and power forwards.

“That’s our weakness,” said Bachmann before the PBA delegation took a bus to Staples Center in downtown LA to attend an NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers.

Bachmann had arranged the side trip to allow league governors and the PBA’s marketing people to watch live an NBA game and observe up close venue entertainment activities under a Hollywood atmosphere.

“Hopefully we can see something there that we could possibly do in the PBA during timeouts, halftime and between games,” said Bachmann. “That way watching games live will be different from watching them on TV.”

The departure of assistant coach Louie Alas to take over the head coaching job at Phoenix Fuel, bringing with him another Aces assistant Topex Robinson, mentor of the Lyceum Pirates in the NCAA, Bachmann said, left a void in the coaching staff of Alex Compton that was quickly filled by Jeffrey Cariaso, the retired Tony dela Cruz and the recent hiring of Eric Altamirano and multi-MVP winner Danny Ildefonso.

Ildefonso was brought in specifically to share decades of “lift the roof” experience with San Miguel Beer to the Aces frontliners, a job, Bachmann said, that could entail sending ldefonso and Dela Cruz next year to the States, in Las Vegas perhaps, to attend a big man’s camp.

The Aces are also tapping the services of a former team member to help in the team’s training.

“I just drove all the way to Sacramento to see Sean Chambers because he will be joining us next week as skills consultant in our training camp,” said Bachmann. “He’ll be staying for about a week.”

Asked how the 12-year Alaska import has been lately, Bachmann said Chambers, a former Best Import winner, named Mr. 100 Percent after Norman Black and a member of Alaska’s 1996 Grand Slam team, is now a principal at Fern Bacon Middle School in California and doing a great job at it.

Bachmann had a first hand view of how Principal Chambers runs his school.

“When I was there, Sean was right in the middle of about a dozen Afghan students, boys and girls, who were fighting over some things and he was telling one group to stop talking, and the other to stay where they are,” said Bachman, laughing.

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