ALEX Compton eyes a fitting follow-up to his glorious coaching debut when Alaska faces the dangerous Air21 squad in the PBA Governors Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Compton, who succeeded Luigi Trillo in a sudden coaching change at Alaska just days ago, had a triumphant debut on Monday after guiding the Aces to a 103-91 victory over an all-Filipino Talk ‘N Text side.
NBA veteran Henry 'Bill' Walker has been showing the way for the Aces, averaging a near triple-double of 25.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 9.0 assists during his first three games for the team (2-1).
The Aces though will undergo acid test against a confident and vastly improved Express side (2-1) in the 5:45 p.m. game.
After struggling from the foul line in the team's 76-84 loss to Barangay Ginebra last Tuesday, veteran Asi Taulava and import Dominique Sutton began taking extra free throws to ensure their poor shooting night from the charity stripe won’t happen again.
“We’re still in the game (against Ginebra) even though I played s__t. The game was still close. Just imagine if I finish those shots close to the basket, it could have been a different ball game,” said Taulava, who shot just 3-of-11 from the field and 3-of-11 from the foul line against the Kings.
“I can’t shoot 3-of-11. I can’t afford those kind of nights so, Alaska, get ready.”
Compton admitted his first stab at head coaching requires the input of his staff led by former league head coach Louie Alaska, Topex Robinson, and Franco Atienza.
“Rookie pa lang ako eh, so there’a a lot of things I don’t know and I need people who are knowledgeable and wise to help me,” Compton said, referring to his assistant coaches.
But Compton knows Alaska will have its hands full as it tries to contain Air21’s solid frontline combination of Sutton and Taulava.
Sutton, the solidly-built import out North Carolina Central, averages 23.6 points, 15.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.3 steals, while the 6-foot-9 Taulava has averages of 16.6 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 3.6 assists a game to steer Air21 to a 2-1 record so far.
The Philippine-born Compton said with a championship-tested system already in place, he doesn’t intend to make any changes at all with Alaska under his watch, especially since the Aces are already in the middle of the tournament.
Instead, his entire goal is to make sure the team gets better as the conference progresses.
“We have a system in place at maraming mga championships na galing sa sistemang 'yan so we just have to get better,” Compton added.