ALASKA tries to ride on the momentum of its stirring Game One comeback when it guns for a 2-0 bulge against San Miguel Beer Friday in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces methodically chipped away the Beermen’s huge 22-point first quarter lead with their trademark pressure defense to pull off an 88-82 overtime win and draw the early advantage in the best-of-seven title series.
But the 1-0 head start hardly impressed Alaska coach Alex Compton, saying San Miguel has the tools to make a strong bounce back any time beginning with Game Two this weekend.
“I just want to deal with what’s in front of us because a seven-game series is like seven different days. Sometimes it (Alaska’s performance) changes,” Compton said on the eve of the Aces’ 7 p.m. encounter with the Beermen.
“There’ll be games when they (Beermen) come out hot, or games we can come back. That’s how basketball works.”
Alaska’s swarming defense forced San Miguel to commit 26 turnovers in the series opener, a key statistics that left Beermen coach Leo Austria shaking his head in dismay.
“How can you win a championship if you commit 26 turnovers?” rued Austria, whose team reached the Finals with a near-perfect 13-2 (win-loss) record during the conference.
“Nahirapan kami mag-execute ng play dahil sa kanilang swarming defense so it could be a factor for our 26 turnovers,” he added.
Other than that, Austria hopes his two veteran stars Arwind Santos and Alex Cabagnot can pick up the scoring slack for the team, aware that Alaska will make life difficult for star center June Mar Fajardo at the post.
The 6-foot-4 Santos posted a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds, but shot just 5-of-14 from the floor in Game One.
On the other hand, Cabagnot shot an atrocious 2-of-9 from the field to finish with just six points, five assists, two rebounds, and two turnovers.