LIKE someone with a renewed perspective after seeing his whole life flash right before his eyes following an accident, Alaska seeks to make the most of its second shot at playoff life when it takes on NLEX for the eighth seed in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals on Friday night at MOA Arena.
Their hopes flatlining after finishing the eliminations with dismal 4-7 (win-loss) record, the idle Aces suddenly got a new lease on life thanks to Magnolia’s blowout victory over NLEX on Wednesday night.
“We’re alive. Buhay pa eh,” Aces coach Alex Compton said after practice on Thursday. “Pag may mga dumaan sa NDE, ‘di ba – near-death experience, naiiba ang perspektibo nila sa buhay, so sana ganun ang mangyayari sa amin.”
“We’re looking at a different perspective and a second lease on life,” he added ahead of the do-or-die game against the Road Warriors that tips off at 7 p.m.
How ironic that it’s the team that tormented the Aces in the last PBA Governors’ Cup finals that gave them a lift this time in the all-Filipino conference.
“Gusto kong magpasalamat sa aking kaibigan, si coach Chito,” Compton said with a smile, referring to Hotshots coach Chito Victolero. “Dapat pansit daw eh, yun ata yung ginawa ng Rain or Shine para kay coach Pido eh.”
Will Compton follow the lead of Rain or Shine, which treated NorthPort to noodles in practice after the Batang Pier gave the E-Painters a hand in clinching the top seed?
“Dapat, dapat,” Compton said with a chuckle, before turning serious as he refused to celebrate with the task at hand, especially against a Road Warriors side that blew them out by 21 points in their elimination-round meeting last March 13 at the Big Dome.
“We just got a chance. We got one more game. Tingnan muna namin,” Compton said. “It’s obviously not a joke game. We’re happy that we’re alive cause we have a chance, but NLEX absolutely obliterated us, they killed us in the first game.”
JR Quiñahan and Bong Galanza led the Road Warriors with 14 points apiece in the blowout that saw Jeron Teng the only Alaska starter in double-figure scoring with 23 points.
The Aces hope to flip the script this time as they try to catch the last bus to the playoffs.
“I’m hoping we can be a little bit better this time, and give ourselves a chance to make the quarters,” Compton said. “We’ll still be shooting at the moon, so kumbaga kailangan muna kami dumaan sa butas ng karayom, and then may mas maliit na butas ng karayom, tapos paliit ng paliit. Pero bukas lang muna. We’ll just focus on one game.”