MANILA, Philippines – Alex Compton is not letting history dictate his fate.
The Alaska Aces head coach – sweaty, hoarse and simply looking battered – still had that light in his eyes despite a third straight Finals loss that put his team face to face with history. No team, in the PBA or even in the NBA, has ever come back from a 0-3 deficit and win a best-of-7 series.
“Somebody had to be the first man to walk on the moon. Somebody had to be the first at everything. I like swinging for the fences, if you like the analogy. We’re gonna play, we’re gonna go at it,” the 41-year old mentor stated determinedly, a slight smile playing across his face, after Alaska crumbled in Game 3, 96-89, in their rematch with the San Miguel Beermen for the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup title.
The Philippine Cup runners-up are experiencing a much tougher Finals this time compared to the first conference, having endured a blowout loss and back-to-back rough endgames that did not favor them.
In Game 3, Alaska once more looked like they could steal one, but San Miguel had the upperhand down the stretch and all was lost once more.
The Aces were a paltry 6-of-17 from the free throw line Wednesday night, July 15 and they were also out-rebounded 58-36, but they managed to stay in the game until 37.2 seconds left. They just could not get over the hump.
When Game 4 rolls around on Friday, July 17, Alaska will not only try to salvage a victory and extend the series. They will attempt to make history.
As the team who made a living all season long as the “No Quit Squad” – coming back time and again and winning games many thought they shouldn’t have, such as their quarterfinals match versus Ginebra – this is their true test.
“I told the guys, the very first thing we talked about as one of our building blocks for the team is honor,” Compton spoke lightly but with plenty of weight on every word. “We will honor the game. We’ll be out there playing. We won’t be out there walking through, we’ll be out there playing.”
Primary guard JVee Casio had the same look in his eyes Compton had as well.
“It’s just one game. Then we have to look at the next game we have to win,” said Casio, who finished with 7 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss. “We just have to keep on going. We have to grind it out.”
The chances of Alaska winning this series are slim to none. The averages are against them, and there are few solutions to a loaded San Miguel team. But that doesn’t mean they are quitters.
Not as long as that light can be seen in Compton’s tired, sleepless eyes.
“It should be, if San Miguel is to win this series, they have to earn it,” Compton unflinchingly declared. “We will not roll over, that’s not what we do in practice, that’s not what we do when no one’s watching. We’ll get out there and we’ll play.” – Rappler.com