GlobalPort’s guns vex Compton
For just the second time this holiday season, the Alaska Aces will be taking a break from work Thursday before plunging back into serious preparations again on New Year’s Day to sharpen its defense against GlobalPort.
With the Batang Pier securing a Final Four clash with the Aces over the weekend after ousting Barangay Ginebra in a knockout game, Alaska coach Alex Compton is wary of the offensive machine that he will be up against.
“Boy, that team can really score,” Compton told the Inquirer Tuesday, just minutes after winding up practice.
Alaska topped the elimination round using its defense as its trump card. That defense, Compton knows, will be put to the test again when the best-of-seven series starts on Jan. 4 at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
Compton is in awe of what Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo can do offensively.
“Those guys can create shots for themselves, and because of their talent in doing that, can also create situations for their teammates,” said the coach, who is seeking to make a title series for the third time in four conferences.
Alaska ripped the Batang Pier apart in their only elimination-round clash, 123-104, but GlobalPort has since bounced back with the flair of a team that showed it can measure up to the heavyweights.
The Aces couldn’t contain Romeo on that night, allowing the talented spike-haired guard to shoot 33 against a defensive pressure that didn’t ebb all game. The big factor in that win were the seven players in twin digits for Alaska and Romeo’s supporting cast which the Aces shut down.
“For all intents and purposes, they have four stars in that team, the other two being Joseph (Yeo) and Jaywash (Jay Washington),” Compton said. “So you know that they can beat you on any given night.”
Alaska gave up just six points to Washington and five to Yeo in that contest.
Compton said the work ethic of his team would be the same as in any of their past games.
Two referees suspended
He declined comment on the controversial non-call inside the final eight seconds of GlobalPort’s 84-83 overtime win over the Gin Kings on Saturday that eventually got two of the four referees suspended for the rest of the conference.
Rather, he would like his team to be focused on the task at hand.
“For us, we will always try to beat any team that’s in front of us,” he said when asked if he would have chosen to play a tall team like Ginebra or the firepower-laden GlobalPort crew.
The other two stars the Alaska coach referred to, played key roles in that win over the Kings, giving GlobalPort the back-up job Pringle and Romeo needed.
Billy Mamaril, an unheralded center who has bounced around in the league, played his biggest game that night and stood his ground against the hulking Ginebra frontline of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar.
The good thing about playing GlobalPort in the Final Four, according to Compton, is that he knows the players they would need to stop to march to the title series.
“But it would be very tough,” he said.
NOTES: Referees Romel Gruta and Edward Aquino were suspended Tuesday by the Office of the Commissioner for the rest of the conference. Gruta failed to blow his whistle on the ball-hogging act of GlobalPort point guard Stanley Pringle in the waning seconds of the Batang Pier’s overtime victory over Ginebra while Aquino failed to spot a backing violation, also on Pringle. The league posted the suspensions on its official website. Gruta and Aquino, two of the league’s more senior referees, stand to lose a tidy sum after yielding the chance to officiate in the 21 games that remain in the conference calendar. Referees get about P2,000 each game apart from their regular monthly income. Suspension will also deprive each referee of a big portion of their salary until the conference ends.