DESPITE Alaska’s morale-deflating 18-point loss to San Miguel Beer on Wednesday, assistant coach Louie Alas is confident the Aces can regain control of the PBA Philippine Cup title series so long as they play with a sense of urgency.
Obviously, the Aces had none of it in their 88-70 loss in Game Four that tied the championship showdown at two game apiece
“Iyun ang big challenge na ibibigay ni coach Alex (Compton) to match up with their (Beermen) second group. Yung first half lang namin (in Game Four), walang sense of urgency. Parang feeling na puwede kaming humabol anytime, pero di namin nagawa,” explained the 51-year-old Alas, a three-time NCAA champion coach.
The Aces had managed to twice recover from sluggish starts, overhauling deficits of as many as 22 and 21 points in the series opener and in Game Three.
But Game Four was much different as the Beermen maintained control for a double-digit win.
[See San Miguel evens PBA Finals at 2-2 as anticipated Alaska comeback never comes]
Alas added the Aces need to be sharp defensively in Game Five on Friday and prevent San Miguel from getting easy buckets. Alaska’s defense has forced San Miguel to an average of 21.7 turnovers in the finals.
“That’s why we try to keep the score low always. Depensa lagi. Sila kasi pag nag-miss kami, nagra-run sila. Eh yung pinaka-mahirap depensahan eh yung transition,” he said.
Another major adjustment for Alaska in its 7 p.m. match against San Miguel at the Smart Araneta Coliseum is countering the Beermen’s move to use slotman June Mar Fajardo.
“(San Miguel) Coach Leo (Austria) is a great coach, tapos yung assistant coaches niya okay din, mga veterans, pero I still believe kung maganda ang transition namin from offense to defense, we have a chance,” added Alas, who coached Mobiline (now Talk ’N Text) from 2000-2001.
[See Unselfish June Mar Fajardo embraces 'decoy' role for vengeful San Miguel Beermen]
“We just have to contain their (Beermen) guards, kasi di nila pinipilit kay June Mar so nakita din nila sa tape na puwede sila manalo kahit wala si June Mar.”
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo, who earned his second Best Player of the Conference trophy prior to Game Four, had a quiet 11 points on just five attempts from the field.
But the big man out of the University of Cebu got plenty of help from San Miguel’s array of guards.
Veteran playmaker Alex Cabagnot fired a game-high 22 points, Ronald Tubid came off the bench to add 13, while Marcio Lassiter chipped in 10.