ALASKA coach Alex Compton kept mum about the surprising move he did to start Game Seven of the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup finals on Wednesday night when he called three successive timeouts and did a platoon substitution just a second into the winner-take-all match.
Compton himself asked members of the media on what they thought was the reason behind it. And when it appeared he had not gotten the answer he’s been expecting, the Alaska mentor said he’d rather not say anything about it in public.
“Maybe that’s something I’ll keep close to my vest and for you guys to see if I’ll gonna do it again,” said Compton, who was on the verge of breaking down as he did hin is post-game interview following the 96-89 loss to the Beermen that made the Aces the first team in league history to yield a commanding 3-0 lead and lose the championship in a best-of-seven series.
Louie Alas, the top deputy of Compton, told Spin.ph earlier that it was a ‘tactical’ move by the coaching staff although he did not elaborate.
Compton called three successive timeouts just a second after Game Seven got underway before a crowd of 23,616 at the Mall of Asia Arena in a move that caught by surprise a lot of people, including reportedly Alaska team owner Wilfred Uytengsu.
The Alaska coach then quickly substituted his first four of veteran Eric Menk, Samigue Eman, Dondon Hontiveros, and Rome De La Rosa with Calvin Abueva, RJ Jazul, Sonny Thoss, and Vic Manuel.
Only Cyrus Baguio was left on the court out of the Aces’ starting unit.
Nonetheless, Compton felt the move worked to the team’s advantage, without going into details.
“I felt that it worked in our favor and that’s what I’m trying to do, tip the scale in our favor,” he said.
But in the end, the gentleman that he is, Compton said the better team won.
“San Miguel deserves a lot of credit. Excellent team, well-coached, well-run, very talented. Congratulations, they deserved it,” he said.
At the same time, the American mentor appeared apologetic to the Aces for failing to give them the title despite leading the series earlier, 3-0.
“I love my guys, they didn’t roll over and die. I wish I could have gotten them a few more baskets, a few more points somehow,” he said.
“We’re all broken hearted right now. I wish I could have done something to deliver that for them, but I didn’t.”