ALASKA guard Cyrus Baguio hopes the memory of last season’s Governors Cup meltdown would serve as a lesson for the Aces as they try to close out their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against Rain or Shine on January 4.
Baguio knows that a 3-2 lead is not safe, especially against the Elasto Painters.
In the Governors Cup last season, the Aces were a win away from making a trip back to the Finals, but the Elasto Painters won the series’ last two games to earn the right to face San Mig (now Purefoods Star).
“Kailangan naming maging mentally tough pa, yung maging cosnsistent pa sa game namin kasi usually pag nananalo kami, nagre-relax muna dahil galing sa panalo eh,” said Baguio, who led the Aces’ blazing second-half charge as Alaska pulled off a 93-88 win in Game Five.
“Sa next game, dapat ganun pa rin yung killer instinct namin kung gusto namin mag-finals dahil last conference, tinalo nila kami,” he added.
Baguio, who played for four years under Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao at Red Bull, is confident Alaska has what it takes to complete its mission.
“Kaya naman naming pumasok sa finals, basta sama-sama lang kami,” said Baguio, a one-time PBA Finals MVP.
The Iligan City native is also hopeful that Alaska’s mercurial forward Calvin Abueva will continue to maintain his focus, even though the latter is one of the most banged-up players in the series.
“Huwag lang siya (Abueva) mag-react kasi sa playoffs, normal lang itong physical game eh,” explained the 34-year-old former University of Santo Tomas guard.
“Kahit naman sa kabila (Rain or Shine) gusto nila manalo at gagawin nila lahat para manalo, pero sabi nga ni coach (Alex Compton), huwag kami bumawi, nandyan naman ang mga referees eh.”
The 6-foot-1 Abueva was slapped a P20,000 fine after incurring a flagrant foul penalty 2 for punching Rain or Shine guard Jonathan Uyloan in the dying minutes of Game Four.
But the 'Beast' bounced back strong the following game, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for his ninth double-double this conference and pairing with Baguio for the team’s successful second-half fightback.