TIM Cone had been with Alaska for more than two decades that he knows the ins and outs of the proud organization.
And that could factor a lot in the Aces’ quarterfinal playoff with their former coach and Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Governors Cup starting this Friday.
The sixth-seeded Aces found themselves matched up against the league’s most popular ballclub following Ginebra’s 107-101 loss to TNT Katropa on Sunday night that dropped the Kings to the No.3 position.
A victory over the Texters would've made the Kings the top-seeded team in the playoffs, and Alaska would've ended up facing reigning champion San Miguel Beer instead.
But with the Kings now standing in their way, coach Alex Compton believes the Aces have to be prepared more than ever against the twice-to-beat edge Gin Kings.
“We need to play the best version of Alaska basketball if we are to pull this off,” said Compton, whose Aces haven’t missed making the Finals the last three conferences.
“We have a big challenge in front of us. And how we play is no secret to Ginebra and coach Tim.”
Alaska beat Ginebra in overtime, 109-100, in their first and only meeting in the season-ending conference.
Compton though noted, the game was only the first for import Justin Brownlee, who has since settled down in Ginebra’s system and is now credited for the team’s consistent showing heading into the playoffs.
“When we beat them, Brownlee had only just arrived and he got cramps pa,” recalled Compton of Brownlee’s debut game after coming in as a replacement for the injured Paul Harris.
The Alaska mentor said the Aces just need to capitalize on whatever advantages they have and hope to be able to play well under extreme pressure against a team that gets added energy from the crowd.
“You just need to check the stats and see what we are good at,” said Compton. “We have only one game guaranteed, and that is what we are preparing for.”