Eyes were dry on Saturday evening.
As the seconds ticked down during Alaska’s do-or-die game against NLEX, the inevitable was about to happen.
As the buzzer sounded, the Aces’ season was over. And with it, the glorious 35-season run of the company previously owned by the Uytengsu family before being sold to FrieslandCampina in 2012 came to an end — an end that many hoped would have come next month.
The entire Road Warriors team stayed on the floor as they paid their respects to the franchise that won 14 PBA championships, produced three Most Valuable Players, and produced hundreds of jobs.
Mounted at the center of the court was a podium with a buzzer on it. For whom does the bell toll?
Alaska team governor Dickie Bachmann took the mic to express his gratitude to those who stayed and to those who cried, cheered, and, even jeered, them throughout the years.
“On behalf of all the Alaska players, we would like to thank the PBA, the PBA fans, and, especially, the Gatas Republic, Alaska fans. We would like to thank you for all your support for 36 years.”
For one last time, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial — who had the tough task of closing this chapter in the league’s books — made one last thank you.
“On behalf of the PBA family, PBA fans, and the Philippine basketball community, maraming, maraming salamat, Alaska!”
As the buzzer sounded and confetti rained down to celebrate the life and times of Alaska, the Aces shared tight hugs with tears clearly running. What’s next for them?
Bachmann though left one last line for everyone.
“See you all soon!”
The second game of each playdate is also livestreamed on SMART Sports.