The way Alaska has been playing, it’s tough to deny that they’ve lived up to the famed ‘never say die’ tag commonly used to describe Barangay Ginebra.
While the Aces’ players are flattered by the comparison, they’d rather not contend with the Kings for the slogan.
Eric Menk and Cyrus Baguio, both former players of the Ginebra franchise, believe that ‘never say die’ will always belong to one team and one team only.
“We can’t really take away that slogan but we feel that even though when we’re down, we come back and win,” Menk told InterAksyon.com in an exclusive interview.
“We don’t like being down, but we hope our fans enjoy our comebacks. Maybe, we can think of a better slogan for this team.”
Baguio, acquired by Ginebra in the 2008-09 season before he was traded for Willie Miller the following season, is pleased with the reputation that Alaska is building but he, too, agreed that they’d rather get their own version of ‘never say die’,
“Nung last time na nag-finals kami, doon nagsimula yan,” Baguio said. “Kumbaga marami kaming games na tambak na nanalo pa. Siguro halos lahat kami naging attitude na namin yan na huwag humintong maglaro kahit anong mangyari. Sinasabi lagi ni JVee (Casio), don’t stop playing,” he said.
“Pero siguro dapat hindi never say die ang tawag sa amin dahil yun ang tawag sa Ginebra. May nakita nga ako sa Facebook, ang sabi sa amin never quit squad, parang ganun.”
Tony dela Cruz, Alaska’s longtime captain, has seen first-hand how the Aces have evolved over time and embraced that attitude.
“You know I said that two years ago, Alaska is the new never say die squad, publicly on Twitter and the fans got on me,” Dela Cruz shared. “Obviously, Ginebra will always be the never say die. But I think the great thing about Alaska is we all play for each other. We’re never out of the game.”
“We’ve been down by 27, we’ve been down by 20 and we’ve been down by 16, we’re never gonna quit and we’ll always play for each other. Everyone on this team is important and no one is a superstar. It’s awesome. Every game, somebody steps up.”
Even import Romeo Travis, still in his maiden tour of duty in the PBA, understands the history of the ‘never say die’ spirit.
“I guess we’re never say die, but we just fight whatever happens. I would say it’s never quit and that’s Alaska basketball,” he added. – Rey Joble