ALASKA was six seconds away from pulling off an upset before crumbling in Game One, and now the Aces try to hold steady for the full route when they take on top seed Talk N Text in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal showdown on Friday at the MOA Arena.
The Aces dropped a heartbreaking 65-66 Game One loss, a great chance to pull the rug from under the top-seeded Texters wasted after a hurried Tony dela Cruz jumper with still about six seconds left in the clock.
But Alaska coach Luigi Trillo refused to dwell on the negatives after the setback, finding solace in the fact that his young Aces were able to keep pace with the favored Texters for much of the match.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, but it’s a great opportunity for us,” said Trillo. “These are growing pains, but we can’t dwell on that (loss).”
To complete a win, the 37-year-old Alaska mentor said the Aces need to play even better than their best.
“Bringing your A-game doesn’t guarantee a win against Talk ‘N Text,” he stressed. “The nice thing I see (in Game One) is we have shown we can stay with this team. It’s really gonna come down to the last two minutes.”
The low-scoring series-opener saw Talk ’N Text shoot a miserable 29.7 percent from the field (22-of-74), while Alaska made just 28-of-76 for 36.8 percent.
“But the thing that worries me is they had a lot of open looks in the three. We need to try to take that away from them,” Trillo said.
The Tropang Texters had eight triples during Game One with Jayson Castro and Ranidel de Ocampo accounting for a combined six conversions, but Talk ’N Text coach Norman Black knows they have to dominate the whole floor.
“Every game is not gonna be easy. But my hats off for Alaska. But we’ll go back to where we go wrong and see what we can do to adjust come Game Two,” explained Black.
The Tropang Texters have now won their last seven games, counting their last five games won in the elimination round as well as the 105-100 quarterfinal win they registered against the Air21 Express.