Compton tells why Aces folded
Coach Alex Compton almost ran out of breath explaining why his Alaska Aces folded in Game 2 of their PBA Governors’ Cup Finals against San Miguel Beer on Sunday night.
“The dilemma us coaches [in the PBA] have in playing against San Miguel is (Alex) Cabagnot, (Chris) Ross, (Chris) Lutz, Marcio (Lassiter), AZ (Reid) and the most dominant local in the game, June Mar (Fajardo), who requires attention on defense,” Compton said as he rattled off the names that have made life difficult for them.
Compton and his coaching staff are locked between a rock and a hard place, the immovable force and irresistible object, between Fajardo’s inside dominance and San Miguel’s armada of long-range bombers.
“It’s really challenging with all the [outside] threats they have,” Compton said.
Lassiter has been paid the highest compliment by coach Leo Austria, who described the former California State-Fullerton gunner as the “best shooter in the PBA” today.
In the 103-95 Game 2 win, Lassiter was almost better than the entire Alaska crew, shooting five triples that equaled the total the Aces shot the entire night—the last two finishing off the Aces.
“Those guys cause us a lot of problems,” Compton said.
The Alaska coach has been a picture of humility ever since he took over from Luigi Trillo at the start of the season, and even after guiding the Aces to a strong second-place finish behind these same Beermen in the Philippine Cup.
His demeanor has not changed even after the Aces came into the this best-of-seven series as the title favorites.
That Game 2 experience was indeed a humbling experience.
Pundits are asking why Calvin Abueva was kept on the bench in the final seven minutes and why they failed to address the situations that left Lassiter open.
“Again, it was my failings as a coach,” Compton said. “I thought we got some shots we liked, got some free throws we liked, but just didn’t make them.”
Tomorrow’s Game 3 is expected to be Alaska’s last stand. If the Aces drop that one again, beating the Beermen four straight times hence would be mission impossible, the pundits say.
NOTES: Major coaching changes among popular teams that fared below expectations the entire season will take place after the ongoing Finals of the Governors’ Cup, insiders of several teams say. One of the teams will be getting a multititled mentor, while the other, a squad teeming with veterans and superstars, will be handled starting next year by a bench upstart who was also a former PBA guard. Both teams failed to make the title series in any of the three tournaments despite high-profile rosters and crafty imports.