Compton glad to see Aces fired up to keep flickering playoff hopes alive after big win vs SMB
Alex Compton stays positive as the Aces face an uphill climb to gain a playoff spot in the Governors Cup. Jaime Campos

ALASKA may be on cloud nine, but coach Alex Compton is also glad his team has stayed grounded and was quick to move on after a relieving win against San Miguel Beer on Saturday that finally put an end to five-month long losing spell.

The Aces toppled the mighty Beermen, 90-79, last Saturday in Pampanga that snapped a franchise-worst 14-game skid dating back to April 2.

But what’s more important for Compton is that the Aces remained in contention for a playoff spot after grabbing their first win in seven games in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

“It’s a relief and we still have a chance,” Compton said in a chat with SPIN.ph after practice on Tuesday. “What I really liked in the locker room afterwards was everybody was happy, but it wasn’t like a championship celebration. It shouldn’t have been and it wasn’t.”

“We still have a mathematical chance,” he added. “We just got keep working. It felt like we had so many breaks against us in those 14 games, maybe we’re due for a few, so we’ll see.”

The Aces lost by an average of 6.5 points in those 14 games, including six that were decided by five points or less.

And lady luck finally smiled on the Aces last weekend, picking the best time – and opponent – to end their losing streak as they did it against a perennial finals tormentor in the grand slam-seeking Beermen, who lost back-to-back games for only the second time this season.

Still, Compton commended his wards for moving ahead to their next task and keeping an even keel.

“To finally get one against a great team was nice, but really, we’re still looking at the season,” Compton said. “I think the team’s reaction was exactly kind of how I felt: thank God, we finally won, alright, awesome. Let’s enjoy it, but let’s get to the next game.”

“We didn’t win the championship,” the American coach was quick to add. “We won one game after losing 14 straight. Malamang kung someday mananalo kami ng championship, magwawala ako. Until that day comes, I don’t know that I’ll ever do that. I’ll just try to approach everything straightforward.”

The Aces have GlobalPort next on Friday, Kia on Sunday, Meralco on September 15, before finishing their eliminations schedule on September 20 against Rain or Shine, facing virtually a must-win situation from hereon to stay alive.

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Still, Compton is hoping that the victory against San Miguel will spark their usual winning ways.

“I hope so. Time will tell,” Compton said. “I’m not a prognosticator. Just getting that monkey off our back will help, but we still got to make plays. No one’s going to say, like Global won’t say, ‘Oh, you beat San Miguel, then just go ahead and beat us.’ You got to earn everything, so we still got to go out there and earn everything.”

“But just the psychological factor of having the lid off hopefully helps,” he added with a smile.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos