JV Casio admitted Alaska’s lethargic effort against Air21 on Sunday was a microcosm the Aces’ performance in the PBA Governors Cup.
“Iyan naman and conference namin eh, we’ve been up and down. Di kami nakapag-respond ng maganda sa crucial game,” lamented the sophomore playmaker.
The Aces dropped a 107-121 loss to the Express on the final day of the eliminations in a game Alaska needed to win to have a shot for the No. 4 seed and the last twice-to-beat incentive.
It was one of the worst defensive showings of the Aces this conference as the Express shot an all-time franchise best of 61.1 percent from the field.
Air21 rookie guard Simon Atkins also outplayed Casio in the battle between two former La Salle stars as the lefty Express playmaker scored a career-high 22 points behind a perfect 6-of-6 thre-point field goal shooting.
The loss pushed Alaska to seventh spot going to the quarterfinal phase, where the Aces are suddenly paired against arch-rival and No. 2 seed San Mig Coffee.
“Wala na, we just have to move on for the next game. That’s the story of our conference. Up and down. May ganung games kami. Siguro di pa kami maka-respond consistently,” Casio added.
The Mixers are currently one of the hottest teams in the tournament, closing out their single-round elimination campaign with five straight wins en route to booking the second seed in the playoffs with a 6-3 record.
San Mig also gave Alaska a thorough beating in the two teams’ only meeting in the season-ending conference, 95-82, last September 10.
But Casio is unfazed.
“We don’t try to look at that (loss in their last meeting). We just focus on winning and we’ll do it on our effort, especially on defense,” said the 27-year-old Casio, the top rookie pick two years ago.
“We can’t do the same that we did today (against Air21). We need to get our acts together and play our very best,” he added.