ALEX Compton expects Alaska to sustain its defensive intensity despite coming off an eight-day respite when it tries to finish off Rain or Shine in Game Six of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Compton said he liked what he saw in Alaska's practices during an eight-day break and he hopes that focus and intensity spill over into the 5 p.m. match against the Elasto Painters.
Alaska leads the best-of-seven semifinal, 3-2.
“Our energy has been fine. One of our emphases is our defensive intensity,” said Compton, who is eyeing his first Finals stint as a coach since taking over from Luigi Trillo in last season’s Governors Cup.
“We need to be able to increase the level of our pressure while making sure on the offensive end that we are strong with the ball and don’t turn the ball over so much.”
The Aces’ defensive intensity begins from the backcourt, where old reliables JV Casio, Cyrus Baguio, Dondon Hontiveros and pesky Chris Exciminiano have been making life miserable for Rain or Shine’s backcourt of Paul Lee, Tyrone Tang, Ryan Arana and Jeff Chan with a relentless press.
Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao explained that at this point, the only thing they need to do to win Game Six is rediscover their desire to play and compete.
“To me, it’s basically matching their (Aces) desire to press, desire to grab the offensive rebounds and going for loose balls,” said Guiao, who gave the team a two-day break during the New Year festivities.
“It’s really the desire factor because if we can’t just even up at the desire factor, then nothing can help us, not our system, or our investment with one another, not even our game plan can help,” he added.
Guiao said he saw a ray of hope the past two days when players arrived two hours early for practice at the Nega gym in San Juan to start working on their shooting.
“(On New Year’s Day), 12 pa lang, nandun na sila, eh 2 p.m. pa ang ensayo, I think maganda naman. Di rin naman nagsitabaan ang mga players,” said Guiao, who is looking to steer the Asian Coating franchise to a third straight Finals appearance in the all-Filipino conference.
A victory by Rain or Shine would arrange a sudden-death match on Wednesday.