ALEX Compton was surprised at how import Nino Johnson acquitted himself in his PBA debut following Alaska’s 78-76 loss against Phoenix Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Johnson came up with only six points and four rebounds in 31 minutes of play as he was obviously outplayed by Fuel Masters counterpart Richard Howell, who dropped 24 points and 29 rebounds against the Aces.
And to think, Chris Daniels' replacement had been doing good in practices the past few days.
“He’s more active in practice this week, and then today I don’t know what it was,” said Compton of Johnson. “You can see he was not feeling that well and it showed he doesn’t cover grounds I had to sub him out for a few minutes. He’s getting some cramps in his stomach.
“But I think you can see what he can do defensively. He covers some ground, block some shots, got some steals. Just obviously he doesn’t really know what we’re doing to struggle a bit offensively.”
The loss snapped Alaska’s three-game winning streak as it fell to a 4-3 record.
Compton said opting to play Daniels again instead of Johnson was not an option especially with the 6-foot-10 Daniels nursing a quad injury.
“I don’t want to injure him. Chris was playing throughout with a quad injury. It’s not something I’m really comfortable with,” he said.
But despite Johnson not productive enough, the Aces were in the game for almost the entire length and had a chance to win it in the end but Kevin Racal’s three-point attempt hit just the side of the board at the buzzer.
Compton credit that to the effort made by the locals led by Chris Banchero with 18 and Vic Manuel with 10.
“I like the fight in our locals today,” he said. “Today I thought we’re fairly solid. You hold a solid team under 80 points.”