ALEX Compton and Chito Victolero see a tight title showdown between Alaska and Magnolia, much different from the last time their clubs met in the PBA finals.
The PBA Governors Cup best-of-seven series opens on December 5 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“I have no idea,” said Compton when asked about their chances. “What I do know is it’s going to be a great series. Ang taas ng respeto ko sa kanila (Magnolia) and I love my team. I expect a great series.”
“Wala kaming nakikitang advantage. But hindi mo rin naman nakikita na may disadvantage kami,” said Victolero.
The two clubs square off in the finals for the first time since the 2010 Philippine Cup, when the Purefoods TJ Hotdogs swept the Alaska Aces.
Both teams are also looking to end title droughts, with the Aces’ last title victory coming in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup where they swept Barangay Ginebra in a best-of-five series. The Hotshots, meanwhile, have not won since completing the Grand Slam in 2014.
Alaska and Magnolia made it to the finals in similar fashion with the Aces beating Meralco and the Hotshots winning over the dethroned two-time champion Barangay Ginebra in four games.
The Aces finished third in the eliminations while Magnolia took fourth spot before beating San Miguel and Blackwater respectively in the quarterfinals.
The teams will have two weeks to prepare for the championship series as Gilas Pilipinas gears up for the coming Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers window against Kazakhstan on November 30 and Iran on December 3.
Compton said Alaska needs to improve its effort against Magnolia if the Aces want to win the series.
“What I know is the more film I watch of Magnolia, mataas ang respeto ko sa kanila. As a coach, you always look at sinabi ko pagkatapos ng game namin vs. Meralco, you always try to look at the teams are playing and what they are doing… But the way they are playing, I think nangagaling sa coach ‘yan. That’s what I really respect. That’s a bigger issue for me.
“I love the way they are playing on offense and defense. If we want to win, we have to play our best and I feel like ‘yung dinaanan namin, if we want to win, we’ve got to step up and better than we were in the semifinals,” said Compton.
Magnolia began its preparation for Alaska on Tuesday morning before the press conference.
“We don’t have any game plan yet. Pag-uusapan pa namin ng mga coaches. But tingin ko, siyempre kami, positive kami na kumbaga ‘yung championship, kaya namin kuhanin as long as ‘yung passion namin at paglalaro namin ng hard every game, nandoon.
“Sana if blessed kami, kahit ano man ‘yan, kahit umabot pa ng Game Seven, sana kami ang blessed,” said Victolero.