Alex Compton’s worst fears came true, much to his horror in Game 4.
After soundly beating Meralco, 92-72, in Game 3, Compton was bracing for the Bolts’ fightback.
The problem was the Aces did not have the energy to match them as they fell, 70-86, and the last Philippine Cup Finals’ debacle is coming back to haunt them again.
“We got beat and outplayed,” Alaska coach Alex Compton said after failing to close out the series.
“The Bolts out-energized us. We need some of what they’re drinking,” he added.
After a see-saw opening half, the Bolts surged ahead in the 3rd canto but the Aces came back within 2.
Meralco though did not panic and countered with an 8-0 windup to bring the lead back to 10, 62-52, on Jared Dillinger’s last second heave from the quarter court.
“Give them credit. They were almost everywhere,” said Compton of the Bolts, who came out from halftime with a lot of energy.
What compounded the Aces’ woes were their uncharacteristic play on offense. The team that has the “We Not Me” mantra was limited to just 11 assists.
“Big concern for me is, I told them this during timeouts, we have a lot of really good guys that I like but if you try to be the hero too much and play outside what we emphasized, guys trying to make too difficult shots, that’s never been us,” Compton rued.
Their spitfire forward Calvin Abueva only shot 2-of-11 for a series-low 10 points that typified Alaska’s offensive struggles.
But Compton will be banking on their experience hoping to return to the Finals and redeem themselves.
“We’re a little banged up. Hopefully, the guys know how to win in the semis. Our firepower is not normally where it is. It’s great to play a tough, well-coached team in a decider,” Compton said.
“I hope that we’ll learn from it in a positive way and make a deposit with win in our experience (bank),” the American mentor added. – By Alder Almo
Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo