VIC Manuel came short of saying Alaska panicked in the stretch run of Game Four of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup Finals, which the Aces lost in overtime to defending champion San Miguel, 110-104, on Sunday night at the Philsports Arena.
The leading candidate for the MVP award of the best-of-seven title series admitted the Aces didn’t execute the way they did in the endgame of the finals’ first three games, which they all won.
The loss trimmed the Aces’ series lead to 3-1, with Game Five set on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Kailangan mag-execute kami ng tama at gawin ‘yung mga ginawa namin nung first three games kung paano kami nanalo,” said the 28-year-old Manuel known as ‘The Muscleman,’ who had a team-high 20 points and 13 rebounds in a losing cause for Alaska.
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Amid chants of 'MVP! MVP! MVP!' the big man out of PSBA scored Alaska’s first four points in the overtime period before San Miguel went on a closing 12-2 run to clinch the win.
Manuel said the Aces were eager to pound the Beermen and end the series right away as they led, 93-82, in the final four minutes and 93-92 with 31 seconds to go.
Unfortunately, Alaska unraveled by committing crucial turnovers, while San Miguel played with the poise of a champion.
“Ang dami naming turnovers,” Manuel noted as the Aces had more errors than the Beermen, 21-11.
“Pero credit din sa San Miguel, lumaban din talaga sila.”
He said proper execution will still be the key if Alaska would be able to end the series in Game Five.
“Kailangan right execution and communication mas maganda sa Game Five (para kami manalo),” he said.