Aces try to end Game 4 with honor, PBA title | Inquirer Sports

Aces try to end Game 4 with honor, PBA title

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 02:23 AM January 24, 2016

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Are close out games the hardest ones to win?

Alaska coach Alex Compton has no idea whatsoever.

“I’ve never been there,” Compton told the Inquirer as his Aces go for a sweep of San Miguel Beer in their Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup title series Sunday to snap what is the league’s longest title drought in the tournament.

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Tip-off is at 5 p.m. at PhilSports Arena in Pasig with Compton also looking to conquer the Beermen and coach Leo Austria for the first time in three title series confrontations and give the Aces a first all-Filipino title since 2000.

“Sometimes that can be,” Compton added. “But obviously, we haven’t been able to do that [in two previous tries].”

The Aces are sitting pretty on a 3-0 cushion, but the way they carved out those wins weren’t pretty at all as they needed to survive furious San Miguel stands even if the Beermen have yet to be rejoined by June Mar Fajardo in the series.

“My respect level for San Miguel hasn’t changed [despite the 3-0 lead],” Compton went on. I expect all-out war again [in Game 4]. Like always, it will be like two boxers trying to beat the hell out of each other.”

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Vic Manuel has been the revelation of the series for the Aces and will win his first Finals MVP award if Alaska goes on to win the title.

Compton described his 6-foot-4 banger as “a shade under 6-feet-4 if he gets a haircut,” but Manuel has been the biggest performer in the middle for either team in the first three games.

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In an 82-75 Game 3 win on Friday in Lucena, Manuel scored 11 fourth quarter points and fueled a furious Alaska comeback. He finished with 17 and was named the Best Player of the Game for the third straight time.

Compton also takes pride in the team that he has, even if his crew had fallen short on two previous occasions against the Beermen last season.

“It’s the thing I love most about my team—they always work hard, ready to put it on the floor each night,” Compton said as he warded off suggestions that his Aces could take it easy against the defending champions because they have four tries to get that one win.

“I don’t think it should change,” Compton said of the attitude his Aces will take for Game 4. “We know that they (Beermen) will not hand us anything. We’re here to honor the game, honor the fans and honor San Miguel.”

Best player

Incidentally, Fajardo is expected to finally show up at the venue for the first time in the series, not necessarily to play, but to at least receive a second straight Best Player of the Conference citation.

Fajardo hasn’t shown up in venues since twisting his left knee in the third quarter of Game 6 of their series against Rain or Shine more than a week ago.

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The 6-foot-10 San Miguel cornerstone showed up to cheer his teammates in practice on the eve of Game 3, and granted interviews and told reporters that it is possible that he would suit up Sunday.

TAGS: Aces, Game, Game 4, honor

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