ALASKA coach Jeff Cariaso is high on import Olu Ashaolu as someone who can be a leader and guide for the Aces in their coming campaign in the PBA Governors' Cup.
While he may have seen the 33-year-old Nigerian-Canadian played before in his two previous stints with NLEX, Cariaso doesn't know Ashaolu well personally.
But when he finally gets to talk to the import, Cariaso was convinced right away Ashaolu perfectly first the kind of player the team was looking for.
"Olu was wonderful right from the get-go," said Cariaso of the balik import during his guest appearance in the weekly sports show Power & Play, hosted by former PBA Commissioner Noli Eala.
The Alaska coach was easily blown away the moment he got to talk to Ashaolu over the phone when the Aces first expressed their interest to tap his services.
He describes Ashaolu as very respectful and cordial upon listening to the import talk over the phone.
"I've never spoken to him, I don't know how he sounds like, I've never met him," he said about Ashaolu.
"All you based it is what you've seen on the court. And you can see how he can be an animal, how he can a strong force, and a warrior on the court."
Those traits Cariaso saw when Ashaolu suited up for NLEX in the 2018 Governors' Cup and 2019 Commissioner's Cup, respectively.
But to his surprise, Ashaolu turned out to be gentle and soft spoken when they finally got to talk personally.
"But then you hear him on the phone and how he talks to you, you can tell that he's a good guy, you can tell he's a leader," said the Alaska coach.
On the spot, Cariaso knew he was talking to the right import for Alaska.
"This was a no-brainer, so I think we're fortunate to have Olu," he said. (RG)