By Tracy Cabrera
AFTER only 15 years as a professional basketball player, veteran Alaska Aces bigman Joachim Gunther ‘Sonny’ Thoss has decided to hang up his sneakers and call it quits in the country’s premier basketball league—playing solely for the Alaska franchise.
According to initial reports, Thoss opted not to renew his contract upon its expiration last August, and this has been confirmed by Alaska team manager Dickie Bachmann.
This marks the end of Thoss’ basketball career that saw him help the Aces win three Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) championships. He was the Finals Most Valuable Player of Alaska’s most recent title, the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Last August, Alaska head coach Jeff Cariaso revealed that Thoss had been uncertain if he will play when the PBA resumed its season.
The Alaska star center was already hinting at retirement but he told Cariaso he will play in the All-Filipino Cup of the PBA’s 45th season. His plans changed, however, because of the Covid-19 pandemic that led to a long layoff.
Prior to announcing his retirement, Cariaso said he respects Thoss’s decision, whatever it could be.
“I respect his decision, if that does happen,” Cariaso said.
“The way he’s thinking, because he’s in a different place than anyone else,” the Alaska coach added.
Thoss was selected fifth overall by Alaska in the 2004 PBA Rookie Draft. He made the PBA All-Rookie Team, and was a 12-time All-Star.
Thoss was born in Papua New Guinea to a German father and Filipina mother. His father, Joachim Thoss Sr., was an East German patrol guard who patrolled the Berlin Wall before it fell.
He attended Port Moresby High School and later moved to Australia in 1999 to attend James Cook University.
After Thoss moved to Australia, he played for the Cairns Marlins of the Australian Basketball Association and trained under Cairns Taipans assistant coach, Aaron Fearne. During his Marlins stint he was named as Most Improved Player in 2001 and was named as part of the league’s under-23 squad.