With several resident imports returning to their respective PBA teams for the upcoming 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup, Mike Harris was expected to once again reinforce the Alaska Aces in a bid to make up for last conference’s runner-up finish.
But a sudden shift in management also meant a change of heart for the Fred Uytengsu-owned franchise, as they will no longer bring in the 6’6 Texas native.
In a video posted on his official Facebook page, Harris confirmed the news and expressed his gratitude to the Filipino fans.
“Hey Alaska fans. I just want to say thank you all for your support last season. Unfortunately, the new coaching staff has decided to go another way. They’re not gonna bring me back this year. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to continue with my guys and the chance to pursue that 15th championship,” he said.
Alex Compton, who served as the team’s head coach for the past five seasons, has recently stepped down from his post and was replaced by former deputy Jeffrey Cariaso. It was Compton who initially brought in Harris after watching him dominate in other leagues overseas for years.
With Harris enforcing the paint, Alaska finished with an 8-3 record in last year’s Govs’ Cup eliminations and earned a twice-to-beat advantage heading to the postseason.
He was awarded the Best Import of the Conference plum after leading the Aces all the way to the Finals — norming 29.6 points, 20.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.1 blocks. The Aces, however, failed to bag the championship after falling against the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok in six games.
Although disappointed by the sudden turn of events, the 36-year-old forward holds no ill intentions against the storied PBA franchise.
“I wish the team all the greatest of success. Once again, I can’t thank you fans enough for all the support you gave me last year. I though I was coming back, I was excited. It’s a business decision and I wish them the best,” Harris concluded.
The Aces, meanwhile, will reportedly parade former Michigan State product Brendan Dawson as Harris’ replacement.
(Images from PBA)