ALASKA head coach Alex Compton was at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night primarily to scout the Aces' next opponent in the PBA Governors Cup playoffs.
Instead, Compton was treated to a classic.
From his upper box seat, Compton was left very impressed as he watched the Bolts outlast the Fuel Masters, 108-103, in an overtime classic which certainly brought the best out of the two teams.
“As I’m watching, honestly, I don’t want to play either team. We are going to. But people always ask me who do you want to play? The way they’re playing, neither. They’re both playing great,” Compton said after the match.
“I told the guys today, I’m so glad you guys played well against San Miguel and we won, but we’re gonna have to be better this semis,” he added.
With the way the Bolts have played the past couple of games, one can’t argue with Compton. The 44-year old mentor knows that they’ll have their hands full against q resurgent Bolts squad led by prolific import Allen Durham.
“Durham deserves all the attention and accolades he’s got. He’s one of the best imports last year, he’s showing why he wants it. He’s so active. He changed the whole game in the fourth quarter, he changed it,” said Compton after Durham posted 32 points, 21 rebounds and nine assists in the clincher.
“Just grabbing those rebounds, starting the break, he got that big block in the end. Just an incredible game,” he added. “Great for the fans. I hope fans nationwide, actually all over the world got to watch this game.”
But one particular local on the Bolts side definitely caught Compton’s attention, and it was the kid from Davao who he first saw 12 years ago in his basketball camp.
“Baser, this is weird to say because I’m a coach for another team, but I knew him since he was 14, the first time he came to Manila it was in our Nike Elite Camp. He came from Davao and he’s wowed everybody since then,” Compton said.
“From the first time we saw him, his whole career from high school and college he’s wowed everybody. And tonight he was masterful - 5-of-9 from the three, he made all the big plays. He was incredible,” he added.
The Aces may have beaten Meralvo in their lone match in the eliminations, but Compton insisted they are playing a different team altogether when their best-of-five semis kicks off on Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
“Three games ago, they beat San Miguel by 30. That’s an indication of where they are as a team, so I’m not looking at an advantage, disadvantage, I’m looking at a team that’s playing great, that’s won six straight and just came into the semis with a lot of heart and some big plays.”