COACH Alex Compton isn’t expecting the physical play to just go away as Alaska and Rain or Shine continue their semifinal battle on Tuesday in their PBA Governors Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“It’s the playoffs. I don’t think the PBA playoffs has ever been ice dancing, so it’s gonna be physical,” Compton said as his team tries to move on from a sorry loss as they play Game Three at 8 p.m. against the Elasto Painters.
The Aces ended up at the receiving end of the rugged, physical plays employed by the Elasto Painters, whose sleek running game and solid defense enabled them to grab Game Two, 99-87, and even the series.
Alaska import Henry Walker claimed he was at the receiving end of what he described as Rain or Shine’s “dirty tactics” that left him with a sore shooting arm and busted lip after Game Two.
Temperamental forward Gabby Espinas, meanwhile, was ejected for incurring back-to-back technical fouls for shouting at a referees for what he felt was a non-call while he drove to the basket in the fourth period.
Compton refused to dwell on the physicality and reminded his players during practice on the more important part, which is improving on their defense and be in a better position on offense.
“I think our concern is on the technical side, some adjustments that we can make. Just need to put our guys on better position,” added Compton.
“The great thing about this is it becomes a three-game series.”
Even former veteran coach and current Alaska assistant Louie Alas believes the Aces have enough veteran players capable of playing through the physicality of a series that has been marked with a lot of shoving and banging of bodies.
“Ang magiging concern mo lang naman kapag playoffs is yung mental approach. Sa playoffs ganyan talaga pero marami rin naman kaming mga beterano na, when push comes to shove, they can bounce back,” explained Alas.
Meantime, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao hopes his team would sustain its intensity in Game Three as the Elasto Painters try to seize control of the race-to-three-wins series.
“We need to have that kind of intensity again. We’re hoping we can sustain that desire (showed in Game Two),” said Guiao, who has steered Rain or Shine to its sixth semifinal stint in the last seven conferences.
Guiao said they would like to keep their up-tempo style of play with Arizona Reid, Paul Lee and Jeff Chan anchoring the team's fastbreak.