Compton hopeful Aces can stun Beermen: ‘Davids of the world have a chance’
If there’s someone in the entire league who has tried to piece together a definite plan on stopping San Miguel, it has to be Alaska head coach Alex Compton.
Of the Beermen’s last five titles in the PBA, three of them came against Compton’s Aces.
And as far as this rivalry is considered, the Aces have yet to get their first taste of victory.
“Undoubtedly, they’re the strongest team in the last four years and I told my colleagues and my friends that the strongest team in the league is now stronger than ever,” said Compton after losing Game 1 of the five-game Commissioner’s Cup semifinals 92-79 Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“They have a legitimate NBA import [in Renaldo Balkman] and the no.1 draft pick, and [Kelly] Nabong’s playing great so the rich get richer,” added Compton with a chuckle. “They’re already a headache for the league so it’s going to be the strongest team that we’ve ever faced.”
San Miguel nary had a difficult time against the depleted Aces, who played without Calvin Abueva and Chris Banchero, in the opening game of the semifinals having seen six Beermen score in double digits.
The Beermen, after a minute 25-24 lead at the end of the first quarter, quickly pulled away in the second with a 9-0 run that Christian Standhardinger capped off with a jumper for the 34-24 lead.
Standhardinger, who came off the bench, had all of his nine points in the second quarter and when he was rested for much of the third quarter it was Nabong, who’s also a substitute, who dealt the damage.
Nabong, known as a bruiser, went to the free throw line and knocked down two straight smooth-looking jumpers for the Beermen’s 75-63 lead with 44 seconds left in the third quarter.
“We might have gone a couple of Game 7s with them but it’s always a dilemma because how many guys got in double figures? Six? So who’re you stopping?” queried Compton.
Unlike Alaska who had Diamon Simpson carry much of the offensive burden with 31 points and 24 rebounds on his own, the Beermen enjoyed the luxury of having six players share the scoring load.
June Mar Fajardo had 17 points, Alex Cabagnot had 15, Balkman finished with 12, Arwind Santos and Marcio Lassiter had 12 points apiece, while Nabong had 11 off the bench.
Compton, however, will not just put this series to naught.
“I am a believer, I always think the Davids of the world have a chance,” said Compton. “But man, David had to be really accurate with that sling. If he was off with his aim, Goliath would have eaten him for lunch.”
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