ALASKA coach Alex Compton expects Rain or Shine to come out firing on all cylinders when the embattled Elasto Painters try to stay alive in their PBA Governors Cup best-of-five semifinal series on Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game Four kicks off at 8 p.m., with the Aces hopeful of duplicating the same focus and intensity they showed the last time as they try to close out the series which the team leads, 2-1.
Compton said much of the focus has a lot to do with the Aces’ decision to just sprint back on defense when the calls do not go their way.
“If there is a whistle and they call the ball out on us, I told them you have to sprint back. It’s just how it is,” said Compton in reminding his players to constantly maintain their poise in the rugged series against Rain or Shine.
“Wala akong alam, baka my liga na puwedeng mag-lobby ang players. Pero alam ko, walang ganung liga sa mundo, so just play the game,” he added.
The Alaska rookie coach said he’s happy to see import Henry Walker keep his cool despite getting the expected bumps and bruises against Rain or Shine’s defense.
“I’m really proud of the way he responded. It’s really different, so just play the game. And he had one of the better scoring games (in Game Three),” said Compton, whose import took over in the final period of Alaska’s Game Three win on Thursday after scoring 11 of his 26 points for the Aces.
“When he plays like that, he makes a major impact for the team.”
On the other hand, Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao again reminded his players to come out with energy and hustle as the Elasto Painters try to survive and force a sudden death match on Saturday.
“If we don’t come up with a better energy level (in Game Four), the series is going to end, so the challenge for us is to gather up as much intensity, aggressiveness,” said Guiao.
Defensive ace Gabe Norwood is expected to return from a two-game absence after spraining his right ankle in Game One.
Norwood, the 6-foot-5 Fil-Am, will be tasked to shadow on Walker, who, in the Aces’ two victories in the series, managed to outplay Rain or Shine’s shorter defenders.
“Gabe (playing on Thursday), is a bright spot for us,” added Guiao.