FORMER allies Alex Compton and Louie Alas treat their first-ever coaching encounter in the PBA as just any other game. No emotions, no fuss, whatsoever.
At least that's what they say.
Phoenix battles Alaska in Wednesday night’s main game of the Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena, pitting Alas and Compton against each other at the sidelines for the first time since the two parted ways last season.
As Alaska deputies, the two were with the team that won the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup championship under head coach Luigi Trillo. Alas later on served as Compton’s first assistant coach and together, steered the Aces to four finals stint in five conferences from the 2015 Philippine Cup to the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup.
But Alas ended his six-year partnership with the storied franchise when he accepted the coaching offer of the Fuel Masters in the off-season.
Now, he and Compton find themselves on opposite benches in the 7 p.m. game.
“Same feelings lang katulad ng previous games,” said the Phoenix mentor, who handled Compton when he won his first championship in the country playing for the Manila Metrostars in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA).
Compton stressed there’s nothing personal involved in the match, which he describes will be going to be a lot of fun.
“How can my coach, my long-time mentor, and then assistant, with his whole family that I care about, be a rival?” he stressed. “This is about Alaska and Phoenix, and my heart is light in regards to coach Louie.”
The Aces are currently in the middle of a four-game winning run that saw them rise to solo third with a 4-2 record.
The Fuel Masters are not that bad either. They tote an even 3-3 card, boosted by their 87-82 upset of Barangay Ginebra Kings last week.
But for someone who knows the Aces for a long time, Alas is certainly wary of his streaking opponent.
“Actually almost similar ang comparative stats (namin), except turnovers. Medyo madami kami, and for me, it’s a concern,” he said.
Alas acknowledged that has been the strength of his former team.
“They will really try to force their opponents to commit turnovers. Sa klase ng tawagan, sakto sa style yan ng Alaska,” the Phoenix coach said. “I’m not complaining, aware lang ako, and we have to play above it.”