FOR Alaska coach Alex Compton and Rain or Shine co-owners Raymund Yu and Terry Que, it was a dream showdown that was long in coming.
The PBA Commissioner Cup finals will feature the league’s two independent teams battling for all the marbles, marking the first time in a long, long while no ballclubs from either the San Miguel or MVP organizations are seeing action in a championship series.
Compton disclosed he and his former bosses at Rain or Shine – where he first saw action as import before beginning his coaching career as deputy to Leo Austria – had been discussing about an Aces-Elasto Painters title duel for quite some time now.
The Aces sealed the date by slamming the door on the Meralco Bolts, 76-70, in their knockout game for the last finals berth Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
The morning after, Compton quickly texted both Yu and Que to tell them the time has finally come.
“We talked during numerous occasions during different conferences about, ‘Kita na lang tayo sa finals. Let’s have an all-independence finals one time,'” recalled Compton shortly following the finals press conference Thursday at the PBA Cafe.
“So we kept on going. They make it, we don’t, and we made it, they don’t. It never worked,” added the Alaska mentor.
Finally it happened, with Game One of the best-of-seven series set on Friday also at the Big Dome.
“We’ll get to see it. I hope we give them a good one. Let’s see what happens,” said Compton.
Commissioner Chito Narvasa said he’s glad to see both Rain or Shine and Alaska battling it out in the finals, but stressed he doesn’t look at the finals as a battle between two independent squads.
“It never occurred to me actually (because) I always look at teams individually. I never look at them as members of a group,” he stressed.
To be fair to both franchises, the commissioner said they deserved to be in the finals.
“These guys have displayed their talent and you’ve seen how much work these coaches have done. So I think they deserve to be there,” Narvasa added.