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    As losses pile up, Jeff Cariaso sure Alaska is about to turn the corner

    Oct 7, 2019
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    A LOSS is a loss, but Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso prefers to stick to the positive after what was by far the best game the Aces had with him at the helm.

    “This was a positive step forward for us,” said Cariaso despite the fabled ballclub going down against defending PBA Governors Cup champion Magnolia on Sunday, 95-90, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    “You have to take the positive about what happened tonight. If we continue staying disciplined, if we continue staying together no matter what happens, I think susunod na yung mga wins.”

    It was the fifth straight loss for the Aces, but it was also the closest they got to pulling off a win.

    The Aces crawled their way back from as much as a 15-point deficit in the second quarter and gave themselves a shot at upsetting the reigning champion when import Franko House scored on a short stab to threaten at 94-90 in the final 61 seconds.

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    But Alaska failed to score on key possessions the rest of the way, allowing the Hotshots to escape with their third straight victory for a 3-1 record.

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      Cariaso lamented the Aces’ failure to pounce on those opportunities.

      “When it’s a close game, and for you to have a chance down the stretch, you have to be able to be near perfect. Again with the mistakes that we made defensively, I think that really hurt us. Missed free throws, missed box-outs. Those things that all teams talk about all the time, we didn’t do well tonight,” said the Alaska mentor.

      “If we did that a little bit better, baka may chance kaming nanalo.”

      Compared to the Aces’ first four outings, Cariaso noted the team has definitely improved.

      “It was a better full game for us,” he said. “I think it was a little better with regards to performance. They didn’t stop fighting. I like the fight. I like the fact that they didn’t give up.”

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      Another aspect that keeps the optimism in the former PBA guard was the better showing of import Franko House.

      Playing in just his second game, the 25-year-old former NFL player of the Chicago Bears submitted numbers of 20 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists while playing the entire second half.

      “Once he gets a little bit acclimated dito sa PBA, he’ll be a lot better. Early foul trouble, but I think he fought hard,” Cariaso said of his import. “Just continue to grow, just continue to get better.”

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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