SO near yet so far seems to be the message Alaska coach Alex Compton is instilling in his wards as they aim for a sweep of San Miguel Beer in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Sunday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.
The Aces moved on the cusp of capturing their first league title in three years, and first all-Filipino crown since 2000, with an 82-75 victory in Game Three in Lucena on Friday night.
But Compton is hoping his wards don’t get way ahead of themselves and simply focus on the task at hand.
“I hate shortcuts,” the American coach stressed ahead of the 5 p.m. encounter. “I hate it when people think about shortcuts. I think shortcuts cheat you from your destiny. I’ve been praying that we won’t shortcut anything.”
“We’ll honor the game, we’ll honor San Miguel, we’ll honor the fans of the league, and we’ll put our best out there from start to finish,” he added. “Because I know, out of respect to San Miguel, they will not hand us anything.”
Compton is well aware being backed against the wall can bring the best out of the Beermen, who are missing injured June Mar Fajardo.
“I don’t like the ‘cornered animal’ thought because from Wisconsin, we got something called badgers: they back into corners and they got really fierce claws,” he said. “I don’t want them cornered.”
“They’re free, they’re free,” he added of the Beermen. “They’re not cornered. We just got to come out and get a win.”
And Compton, who’s seeking a first-ever championship as a coach, is urging the Aces to play like they’re the ones trying to extend the series.
“I hope we’re all determined,” he said. “It’ll be a battle again, so from start to finish, we just got to keep coming.”