SINGAPORE — Head coach Mac Cuan regretted the mental mistakes that he said hurt Alab Pilipinas' chances at stealing a win on the road against the Singapore Slingers on Sunday at the OCBC Arena.
Cuan said Alab's failure to follow its game plan - and its inability to play consistently for the whole game - are to blame for a second loss in as many meetings to the Slingers.
“It’s not physical anymore. It’s more mental. We are not ready to compete mentally,” said Cuan after a 68-71 loss that left Alab in third place (2-2) in the standings heading to the league's Christmas break.
The former La Salle guard specifically mentioned Alab's defense on Singapore import Xavier Alexander, who kept finding open lanes to the basket on the way to finishing with 25 points and 12 rebounds.
“The one who killed us was Alexander. Our game plan against Alexander is to open up, go through, and make him shoot. What I don’t understand is we are opening up, going through, but still, he has a strong line to the basket,” said Cuan.
Cuan was actually satisfied with Alab’s play in the first half, saying open shots were merely not falling as the Philippine side trailed by six, 41-35, after being down by 10, 14-4, to open the game.
Cuan said the mental mistakes cost them the game in the second half.
“Physically, we are there. Kapag gusto naming dumepensa, locked in, 12-point lead, mawawala. Kapag lumalamang kami, nagre-relax, mental mistakes, turnovers, bad shots, lamang uli sila ng 10 points,” Cuan said.
"Pinapahirapan namin ang basketball kasi walang consistent effort for 40 minutes," he added. "May talent kami pero talent alone won’t win games here. You have to do it as a team and be ready to play.”