PLAIN and simple, Meralco outplayed Alaska Saturday night in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup encounter.
In a nutshell, that’s how coach Alex Compton summarized the 99-91 beating his Aces suffered against the Bolts, dealing them their first loss in five games in the mid-season conference.
“Without question, Meralco deserved that game,” he said. “They kicked our butts, they deserved the win, they outworked us.”
Alaska came into the Petron Saturday Special game at the Mall of Asia Arena looking great after winning its first four outings despite missing a number of key players due to injuries.
But the Aces came out flat and dug themselves a hole so deep they had a hard time recovering from, notwithstanding a fiery late run anchored on import Corey Jefferson and sophomore Simon Enciso.
Alaska trailed by as much as a 91-66 deficit, and by the end of the game, found itself outworked by Meralco off the boards, 60-34.
“Today we got outworked, it’s not acceptable, and they clearly deserved the win,” said Compton. “Excellent game, excellent coaching job by Norman and staff, and they deserved it.”
The good thing though, the loss came at this early stage of the tournament, and Compton said this should serve as a reality check for the Aces.
“Hope it’s a little wake up for us,” admitted the Alaska coach.
“The PBA plays three conferences per year and guys are playing all the time. Human beings would be human beings, they go through ups and downs. And what happens when people start telling you, ‘Oh you’re really, you’re really good.’ Anong nangyayari? Naiiba na ang lakad mo. Konting swagger ka na.”
And that for him was the mentality the Aces brought to their game against the Bolts, leading to the one-sided loss.
Compton took the blame for it.
“I didn’t do a good enough job of getting us mentally to that spot we talked about,” he said.”I didn’t get us there. And we need to be there.”