LOOKING back at the way the PBA Governors Cup Finals ended for Alaska, the team coaching staff could only single out one major factor that turned the title series around.
The fateful Game Two loss.
“Game Two cost us the series,” said head deputy coach Louie Alas moments after the Aces were swept by the San Miguel Beermen, 4-0, for the season-ending championship.
The Aces appeared on the way to levelling the Finals in the second game of the best-of-seven series after leading by as many as 85-76 early in the fourth period following a Calvin Abueva three-pointer.
And then disaster struck.
San Miguel battled its way back in the final three minutes behind the scorching outside shooting of Marcio Lassiter and Alex Cabagnot. A drive by import AZ Reid at the 1:27 mark capped a 19-10 Beermen run to tie the game at 95-all.
Lassiter then buried a clutch three-pointer to spark 10 unanswered points by San Miguel on the way to a 103-95 win and a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.
For Alas, that was the series and the championship right there.
“That last three minutes meltdown was huge for us,” he said.
Shortly after receiving the runner-up trophy during the awarding ceremony that preceded Game Four, the entire Alaska team left the Smart Araneta Coliseum in a huff and had a quiet dinner together in a posh restaurant somewhere in Mandaluyong.
Incidentally, the last time Alaska won a championship, the Aces won it in style following a three-game sweep of Barangay Ginebra in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup.