Alaska coach Alex Compton isn’t blaming fatigue or injuries in the Aces’ 97-105 defeat to Rain or Shine in the opening game of their Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A faulty start, some mental lapses in the last quarter and foul trouble on their big men during the 2nd half were just too much to handle as the Aces eventually dropped Game 1 against a relentless Elasto Painters side.
“That’s one of the reasons why Rain or Shine is so consistently good. You make a mistake, they make you pay all the time and they did it,” Compton told media men after the game.
The Aces fell behind by 12 points midway in the opening quarter after turning the ball over 4 times, and failing terribly on their transition defense, which allowed Rain or Shine young guard Jericho Cruz to score 10 quick points.
Compton said he was not pleased at all with Alaska’s defensive effort overall, which enabled Rain or Shine to outscore them, 17-5 in the fastbreak department.
“That’s a veteran team out there. They’ve been doing it for years and we made mistakes so they made us pay. We can’t do that,” stressed the American coach, who is out to end Alaska’s string of Finals runner-up finishes this conference.
“We’ve got to find a way to make Rain or Shine make a bunch of tough shots because this is the Finals,” he added.
“You gotta earn it. No one’s gotta give it to you.”
Rain or Shine, which reached the Finals behind its masterful 3-1 semifinal series win against San Miguel, enjoyed big advantages in several key departments.
The Elasto Painters held a sizeable 67-26 bench points edge, had more rebounds, 51 to the Aces’ 41 and shot 14 three-pointers in Game 1.
Game 2 is set on Sunday, 5 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. – By Richard Dy
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