ALASKA coach Alex Compton is taking the “one game at a time” approach to the extreme, hoping his wards take San Miguel Beer one possession at a time in Game Five of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces did what their coach feared about: making shortcuts in Game Four where they lost a 13-point lead in the last four minutes of regulation on the way to getting derailed in their quest for a first league title in three years with an overtime loss.
And the second most successful team in the league with 14 titles tries again in the match that tips off at 7 p.m.
But Compton reiterated that the Aces should simply take it one step at a time and forget about the end goal for the meantime.
It started in practice where he refused to talk about possibly having their last practice of the conference.
“I didn’t address that or talk about that,” Compton stressed after practice on Tuesday. “It’s really more of dealing what’s in front of you. I think you’ll get off track if you’ll start thinking of any celebration or we’re not coming back (to practice).”
“It’s what you have to do of what’s immediately in front of you,” he added. “What do you do when you’re guarding Alex Cabagnot? What do you do of this or that?”
Thinking of a celebration, he believes, can only lead to another disappointment.
“Whatever comes after that comes after that, but the idea is locking in on your immediate task at hand,” Compton said. “And the immediate task at hand is not even Game Five, but the immediate possession in front of you.”
“It’s locking in on a different level of mental focus,” he added.
Even so, the third-year coach is wary of another tough SMB stand.
“It’s not like I have everything figured out,” Compton said. “I think we should also really give credit to San Miguel. I thought they showed great heart and great character when we didn’t.”
“Hopefully, we’ll make the plays that will win it for us this time,” he added.