LUIGI Trillo admits feeling some pressure right now in his first season as a full-time Alaska coach, more so since the Aces are off to a poor 0-2 (win-loss) start in the PBA Philippine Cup after an offseason of high expectations.
“There’s this big expectation in the job of ours. There is pressure when you are losing. A lot is being said also when you are losing,” Trillo told Spin.ph after the team’s light practice Thursday at the Reyes gym.
The Aces dropped their first game of the season by a mile against a perked up San Mig Coffee Mixers, 83-103, then failed to keep pace with the Meralco Bolts in the second half, 86-93, on Sunday night.
With a retooled line up, a battery of veteran coaches around him, and a whole new season to work on, being winless in their first two games is certainly not the kind of start expected of the Aces, who were tipped to perform well this conference owing to their impressive offseason showing.
At the moment, the Aces are languishing in the cellar in the company of newcomer Globalport.
But Trillo is confident the Aces can pull things together as they make the necessary adjustments on defense.
“We really have to play better defense. We’re pleased with our execution against Meralco, but it’s team defense that needs a lot more improvement,” added Trillo, who led Alaska to a 2-7 record in last season’s Governors Cup in his capacity as interim coach.
Sonny Thoss, who has been out for a large part of the team’s offseason build up due to his Smart Gilas 2.0 national stint, struggled during the Aces’ first game against the Mixers, scoring just six points on a frigid 2-of-12 shooting from the perimeter.
He was able to bounce back with a 17-point-11-rebound effort against the Bolts, though he wasn’t in the scheme of things in the second half, scoring just four points along the way.
“Sonny’s back. He’s a big part of what we do. But he’s having a big adjustment. Remember we have six new guys on the team so it will take some time for him also,” said Trillo of his star center.
The Alaska coach knows only too well it will just be a matter of time before his talent-laden, veteran squad can get the right mix this conference.