ALASKA coach Alex Compton isn’t pulling someone’s leg, but strongly believes defending champion Star has been making positive strides despite suffering another setback in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday night.
The Aces may have dealt the Hotshots their fourth successive defeat with a 92-86 decision at the Smart Araneta Coliseumt, but Compton feels the reigning champions are actually on the rise -slowly but surely.
“I think they’re on the upswing,” the American mentor said. “I think they’re getting better and they’re going to keep getting better.”
They Said It!
“That is humbility, coach. Keep your humbletivity." Dwight De Guzman
The Hotshots showed flashes of their old deadly selves after getting off to a great start, establishing an eight-point lead over the Aces in the first quarter.
But the Grand Slam champion failed to sustain the effort and is now in danger of getting eliminated as it is stuck at the bottom of the standings with NLEX and Blackwater, all identical 1-4 win-loss cards.
“This doesn’t mean anything,” said Compton, whose team has an opposite record of 4-1 and has a share of the lead with Barako Bull. “They’ve won championships with worse records than this.”
The Hotshots conquered the Philippine Cup last season despite starting the All-Filipino conference by losing five of their first six games.
Compton was glad the Aces faced the Hotshots this early in the tournament - and prevailed behind their trademark suffocating defense.
“If we didn’t have the defensive effort we had, I think we’d lose this game,” the Alaska coach said.
The Aces actually allowed the Hotshots to convert 31 of their 63 shots for a solid 49 percent, but forced them to commit 21 turnovers that translated into 27 points.
Offensively, the Aces rode on import Romeo Travis, who had 27 points, but insisted the victory was the product of a total team effort.
“We’re thirteen-fourteen players deep,” the American forward said. “Everybody plays. Nobody plays a ton of minutes except me, but we’re a really good team and we play for each other. That’s the biggest thing that sets us apart.”