LOOKING to prevent the onset of complacency, Alaska coach Alex Compton has shot down early talk of an elimination-round sweep.
Four huge victories against title contenders have fueled discussions about an unbeaten run to the playoffs, but Compton wouldn’t even be drawn into counting as a victory the match against lowly expansion squad Kia.
The unbeaten Aces and struggling Sorento clash at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
“Our emphasis is always to try and get better, try to grow, and try to do the right things. I think we’ll all be surprised, the whole team will be surprised. We have seven games left, I’m sure we’ll probably lose some of those… but we’ll just keep battling,” said Compton.
The Aces won all their matches through a strong defensive effort, and are the league’s best in limiting their opponents — 74.5 points per game.
Alaska opened the season with a 93-73 humiliation of reigning Philippine Cup champion Purefoods Star, followed by a 100-98 win over Talk ’N Text behind Calvin Abueva’s buzzer-beating floater.
The Aces then, dominated the Meralco Bolts, 105-64, before stopping San Miguel Beer, 66-63 in a battle of unbeaten squads last week.
“The effort that our guys showed in giving 25 points in the second half couldn’t make me happier. The 63 points (allowed) is impressive. I hope we can sustain that defensive intensity,” added Compton, only in his second conference as Alaska’s head coach.
Alaska’s other Philippine Cup assignments include Blackwater on Nov. 14, Barako Bull (Nov. 19), Globalport (Nov. 22), newcomer NLEX (Nov. 28), Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (Dec. 2) and Rain or Shine on (Dec. 5).
On the other hand, after the opening the season with an 80-66 come-from-behind win, KIA Motors dropped four straight by an average losing margin of 22.5 points.
The Sorento’s lack of a solid go-to-guy appears to be the biggest problem for the expansion squad at this point.
Expansion draft pick-up Reil Cervantes is the team’s top scorer at 13.8 points and rebounder with 5.8 boards in the first Sorento’s first five games, while Rudy Lingganay is the team’s next best scorer with his 9.8 points per game average.