SAN Miguel Alab Pilipinas coach Jimmy Alapag wasn't entirely happy after a lopsided win at the start of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) playoffs, putting the blame on himself for a lackluster start against the Saigon Heat.
Alab secured a 110-100 win over the Heat in the opener of their best-of-three quarterfinal playoff, but Alapag still saw a lot of room for improvement in the way he prepared the Philippine side for its first-ever playoff appearance.
“I’m just happy that we won,” said Alapag. “I don’t think I did a very good job of preparing us for tonight. I thought from the effort standpoint, it was great. But we were far from the sharpness that we needed to be. That’s on me. I have to make sure that they come out better.”
Saigon kept the game close for most of the first half, and only a late run enabled Alab to take a 57-47 lead at halftime. A big third quarter enabled the Filipinos to lead by as many as 97-75 but they never looked sharp the whole game.
Defense - or the lack of it - was the main source of Alapag's discontent.
“We gave up a hundred points to four guys tonight. Again, a lot of that falls on me in making sure that I have a better game plan which is sharper as a team both offensively and defensively," said the former Gilas Pilipinas captain.
"I thought we had the game in hand in a lot of instances but we let them get back into it with turnovers and bad fouls,” said Alapag.
That makes Alapag anxious heading into Saturday’s Game Two in Ho Chi Minh City.
”So again, the only advantage that we have is that we won the first game. Our focus is Saigon on Saturday and I need to make sure that the team is much better,” Alapag said.