ALASKA continues to embrace the pressure of having its back against the wall as the Aces aim to drag the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals against Rain or Shine to the distance.
This familiar situation has brought out the best in the Aces, who have gone unbeaten in five do-or-die games this playoffs, two against Tropang TNT, one versus Meralco, and two against the Elasto Painters - the latest an 86-78 victory in Game Five last Sunday.
And the Aces are not stopping now, eager to defeat the E-Painters for the third straight time in Game Six on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“All we got guaranteed is one game, so we have to maximize the play in front of us,” Aces coach Alex Compton said after practice on the eve of the match that tips off at 7 p.m.
“Hopefully that could be the good kind of pressure that facilitates a type of focus and I think that’s necessary to win a championship,” he added. “I hope were are focused and locked in.”
Proving that the mental side is more important than the technical aspect, the Aces only made some “subtle” adjustments on both ends off the floor in practice on Tuesday afternoon at the Hoops Center.
“I don’t think there’s anything’s overwhelming,” Compton said. “A lot of the adjustments would be subtle. Both teams know what each team is going to do, but there’s all these little counters inside the game within the game.”
“And so, we try to anticipate counters and prepare for them,” he added. “I’m sure they’re doing the same. And it comes down to a matter of can you execute the counter to the counter.”
“I thought we really had a good practice, but it won’t really mean much,” the American mentor continued. “We have that incredible practices when they the players look like leaders then we come out terrible. We’ll find out tomorrow.”
Compton confirmed Ping Exciminiano is fit to play after missing the last two games due to a sprained knee, while he expects Kevin Racal, among others to keep stepping up and provide support to Calvin Abueva and import Rob Dozier.
“We have a bunch of guys making a bunch of little plays – those little plays are big plays for us tomorrow,” Compton said.