IN A shocking announcement on Friday night, September 11, the Phoenix Fuel Masters have fired head coach Louie Alas.
The development was made public in an announcement on the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) team’s social media pages. It came days after suspending Alas for violating health protocols during the Fuel Masters’ return to practice.
"After much deliberation, management has decided to discontinue Mr. Louie Alas' services as head coach," said the statement.
The statement did not elaborate the reasons behind Alas’ termination but it did say that assistant coach Topex Robinson would be elevated to head coach on an interim basis.
The announcement stunned the local basketball scene especially after Alas led Phoenix to an impressive run during last season’s Philippine Cup where the team topped the elimination round but got ousted in the semifinals by the mighty San Miguel Beermen.
The Fuel Masters though, was not able to sustain that success in the succeeding Commissioner’s and Governors’ Cups with injuries and the suspension of star forward Calvin Abueva hampering the squad.
Alas is one of the most successful coaches in the country, having won three titles in the NCAA with Letran, and championships in the defunct Philippine Basketball League and Metropolitan Basketball Association. (JNP)