Compton: Alaska will be motivated by more than just quest for redemption vs SMB
Alex Compton and his Alaska Aces have waited more than two years for this chance to come again, for them to once and for all be able to bury the ghost of the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup Finals collapse which ultimately gave birth to San Miguel’s “Beer-acle.”
So when Compton watched at ringside on Wednesday night and saw how the Beermen sewed up a Final Four clash with his Alaska crew in the Commissioner’s Cup, a fair question to ask the Aces coach was: “Would redemption be the biggest driving force for you in this series?”
Compton sounded sincere enough when he said that it wasn’t.
“Will it be sweet beating them?” Compton asked the Inquirer. “Of course it will be, because they’re the best team in the league, and for us, that in itself is enough motivation.”
Alaska and the Beermen tangle in a best-of-five series starting on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, and Compton is again relishing his role as the underdog in this matchup even if the Aces qualified as a higher seed than the Beermen for the playoffs.
“You saw how they handled TNT (KaTropa) in their series, right?” Compton said, referring to San Miguel’s 2-0 sweep of the Texters, counting a rally from 23 points down in Game 1.
“That’s a pretty tough team they (Beermen) just swept. That’s how good they are.”
Of the four semifinalists, Alaska seems to be the one few listed would get here.
Management suspended superstar power forward Calvin Abueva indefinitely for disciplinary reasons, Jeron Teng, the prized rookie, was involved in a bar fight and was stabbed several times, and the Aces’ original import opted out to try his luck in the NBA.
Those were distractions the team didn’t need, but those distractions are what made this run special.
“I’m just proud of this team for persevering,” Compton said in another interview.
And just when most everyone are wondering if Alaska would opt to have all hands on deck for this series with San Miguel by ending Abueva’s suspension, Compton was quick to point out that: “nothing has changed for us. This same team that got us here will be trying to beat San Miguel.”
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