IT was a matter of Meralco making the right plays and Alaska breaking down in the stretch that led to the Aces' Game Two loss on Wednesday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinals series.
Coach Alex Compton hardly made any excuses following the 92-87 setback at the Araneta Coliseum that saw his team squander a 77-63 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“They did a great job down the stretch here. They’re kind of like us, they won’t stop coming. And that’s just how it is,” said Compton, who hurriedly left the venue to proceed to the team’s headquarter at the Hoops gym for a meeting with his coaching staff.
“They execute down the stretch and really more than anything, they made the shots down the stretch,” he added. “Our transition defense was poor and our rotation was late.”
The best-of-five series is now tied at 1-1. Game Three is set on Friday also at the Big Dome.
Compton made mention of import Arinze Onuaku, rookie Chris Newsome, and Reynel Hugnatan for making ‘great plays.’
But he reserved the best compliment to veteran Jared Dilinger, who shot 13 of his 20 points during that big fourth quarter turnaround. The Fil-Am guard made 5 of 10 from three-point range, including two in the final quarter.
“I think jimmy is shaking hands with JDs’ left hand a lot, so he’s getting a lot of that late game heroics from Jimmy,” said Compton in jest. “I wish Jimmy didn’t do that.”
Seriously though, Compton said the Bolts did not finish as the No. 2 team at the end of the eliminations by accident.
“We have a high respect for Meralco. I don’t know if the fans here or the casual followers are aware of how good they are playing this conference,” he said.