ALASKA may have suffered another heartbreaking defeat on Wednesday night – a 102-98 overtime decision at the hands of Star, but coach Alex Compton can take solace from seeing the 'real' Aces team finally show up after being only a pale shadow in their losing streak in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Aces played their brand of basketball throughout against the Hotshots, including one play in the third quarter where they forced Star to call timeout to avoid an inbound violation after Allein Maliksi couldn’t find someone to pass to – prompting Alaska owner Fred Uytengsu to jump out of his seat in appreciation.
“All losses are bothersome, but I told the guys one thing, I asked them coming into this game not for a win, not to be perfect in execution; I said I want my team back today,” Compton said. “And I felt I got my team back.”
“I feel bad about the loss today and simultaneously I’m proud of the effort because my guys are back,” he added.
Still, the Aces’ alarming skid continued as they lost for the seventh straight time after starting the conference with a four-game winning streak.
Compton, though, is unperturbed.
“We just lost to an excellent, well-coached team that deserved to win,” Compton said. “Paul (Lee) and Justin (Melton) hit two thirty-five footers that were huge in the outcome.”
The Aces failed to clinch an outright quarterfinal berth as they start an agonizing wait to know whether they need to go through a playoff for the last spot or get eliminated if they end up with the lowest quotient among teams that wound up tied with them at 4-7.
Compton doesn’t mind the Aces taking that hard route to the postseason and facing whichever team in the playoff – so long as he sees this version of his team night in and night out from hereon.
“That team shows up, miracles happen, (but) the team that played most of the conference shows up, then it’s probably see you guys next conference,” the American coach said.
“We can beat any team if we play that way (against the Hotshots),” he added.