ANTIPOLO - With Alaska once again settling for a runner-up finish to Magnolia in the 2018 PBA Governors' Cup, Alex Compton now owns the most number of bridesmaid finishes by a coach without winning a championship.
But failure doesn't diminish his desire to finally win one.
"One day, I just want to bring them to the Promised Land, you know. And we didn't deserve it, we got beat. Congratulations to Magnolia. They did a great job," he said on the heels of a 102-86 Game Six defeat to the Hotshots on Wednesday.
Compton struggled to put things in perspective after the Aces lost for the fifth time in a PBA Finals under his command.
There were positives, but Compton was no longer in the mood to accept moral victories.
"Through the season, there was a general progression for us. I think it culminated with Mike Harris coming in, he was the Best Import, and I felt he deserved it. But Magnolia was the best team this conference and I felt they deserved the championship," he said.
"So I think for us, this is a step forward, but you never get this close and then feel good. I don't feel good right now. So it's all of us, we lost in the Finals. Eleven teams lost to Magnolia, and we lost in the Finals. That's how it works.
"You're a competitor, and your team is also a competitor, you're trying to win. Right now, I feel sick to my stomach, but you know the bottom line is if you don't win the championship in the PBA, you lost," he said.
Compton himself sounded conflicted as he looked back on Alaska's season.
"If you ask me if I'd rather have this season or last season, I'd definitely have this season," he said of the disastrous 2016-17 season where Alaska failed to advance to the playoffs in the import-laden conferences.
"If I try to frame things with the appropriate perspective, we're in a better spot than 10 teams. Would you rather go to the finals and lose, or go through the 14-game losing streak, and not make the playoffs? I'd rather be in the finals.
"But we're in the finals, so it's painful to lose because you're there. It's like you have the opportunity, you wanna grab it, but they outplayed us. When you're a blocked shot, a loose ball away from winning Game Five, when you're there, everything just feels more painful in a sense.
"But I love my guys and I'm so blessed to be the coach of this franchise and this team."
Compton is certain Alaska is getting closer to a championship, but knows the chase won't get any easier next season for a banged-up team which won't have much time to recover before the January start to the next season.
"We got a bunch of banged-up guys that needs to rest. So the question is how do you handle a preseason going into another 14-month season, that's due to end late January of 2020?" Compton asked.
"There might be a little bit of triage early on and I don't know how we'll be able to start the preseason. But if there was a break before the next season for us, where we could then have a preseason, us coaches like a six-week preseason, then that would be really good," he said.
"This will be a challenge, to stay the least."