Gilas call-up a timely distraction for Alex Compton as pain from Alaska letdown lingers
Alaska coach Alex Compton welcomes the chance to learn from Tab Baldwin. Jerome Ascano

WHILE most wore the Gilas Pilipinas shade of blue and gray and the others black and white, Alex Compton donned a red Alaska shirt on the first day of national team practice on Wednesday night at the Meralco Gym.

The Aces coach definitely looked the part of newcomer, having only recently been included in the coaching staff of Tab Baldwin.

But he didn’t mind.

Compton proudly showed his club colors less than two weeks after the Aces allowed San Miguel Beer to sweep them in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.

“I firmly believe in failing forward,” the American tactician said in a chat with after practice. “So I try to learn from failures and shortcomings and not internalize them to the point where it becomes your identity.”

But it was expected to be a long series after both squads engaged in a grueling best-of-seven title series in the Philippine Cup that went to the limit. Yet the Beermen, led by June Mar Fajardo and AZ Reid, took them to school.

“Tuition was losing,” Compton said. “We paid the tuition, so we better get the lessons out of it and just keep it getting better.”

The memory still lingers, so this call-up could not only help him forget, but also to learn from Baldwin, not to mention from champion coaches in Jong Uichico and Norman Black, as well as Nash Racela and Josh Reyes.

“It helps that I get to come in here and learn, so I’m not sitting alone in my room, crying myself to sleep,” Compton said.

Did he really have teary-eyed nights?

“There are always tough nights after you lose,” the affable mentor admitted. “But for me, it’s kind of more about problem solving. After Game Four, there was no more problem to solve immediately. It was more of reflection on all the different things that I could’ve done better and we could’ve done better.”

And what did he find out after his reflection?

“That June Mar and AZ are pretty good,” he said with a smile, before getting serious, citing the grueling schedule they had.

“Without giving some trade secrets away, one of the things (I learned) was the lesson of ‘if we ever have the long break’ – how to treat that differently than I did, some different rotations, defensively specifically, and then player-wise, I think.”

But he is not taking anything away from the Beermen.


“San Miguel deserved to win,” Compton said of the Leo Austria-mentored side. “They’re a great team and are well-coached.”

Now, he simply has to move on and focus on the task at hand.

“I could be wrong, but I feel like I have a healthy grasp on it where I’m very bothered when we lose. I try to find out, but then I don’t let it destroy my life for a year and a half.”

“I don’t think in the PBA, where you have three conferences, if you let one destroy your life, you’re going to be successful.”

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos