THERE'S really nothing else Alaska coach Alex Compton could ask for from Diamon Simpson after the Aces' 118-106 defeat to Ginebra in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Sunday.
"He's a warrior, man, and I love him," said the bench tactician of the returning import.
Compton lauded Simpson for his performance, tallying 22 points, 22 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block in 40 minutes of action, despite coming in just this past week as Alaska's third import in lieu of Chris Daniels.
"For us to have Diamon for a limited time in practice and not being able to call certain plays and certain adjustments for him, and still play this way? I love Diamon and I got nothing bad to say about him," he said.
However, that unfamiliarity also cost the Aces in the endgame as their fightback from 10 points down late in the third fell flat.
Alaska even took hold of a 91-90 advantage with 8:24 to play befoe the quartet of Justin Brownlee, Japeth Aguilar, Stanley Pringle, and LA Tenorio took charge in the payoff period and restored order.
To Compton, that's not entirely Simpson's fault but rather a shortcoming of the whole team.
"We knew that we were going to have to come out and defend great, and we didn't defend great," he said as the Gin Kings shot 50-percent from the field and a blistering 57-percent clip from beyond the arc.
"We're okay for long stretches, we were pretty good in some points, and then there were some points where Justin was Justin, some points were Stanley was Stanley, some points where Japeth is Japeth and he's cleaning up their mess and making everything happen at 6-foot-9," he elaborated.
"The guys battled, but we've got to be incredibly sharp against Ginebra which is arguably the most talented team I've seen in my 21 years here. We weren't as sharp as we needed to be."
All hope isn't lost, though, as Compton still believes that with Alaska sitting at 4-5, Simpson's further acclimation with the team could only mean good things and a late run to the playoffs.
"Hopefully, we can have more time to just get Diamon up to speed," he said. "I think we'll get better. Again, we fought but we just weren't sharp enough. If we fight like this, we'll get better and we'll give ourselves a chance."
The Aces are now in a precarious situation as they gun for a sweep in their final two assignments: against Rain or Shine on Saturday and versus Blackwater on July 14.
"We got two games left that I think we need to win. So we got to polish those mistakes in the next week and go against my friends at Rain or Shine and try to get one," he said.