WITH over nine minutes left, Rome dela Rosa entered the game and played like Alaska was trying to rally from huge deficit in Game Four of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against GlobalPort.
Yet it was the Aces who were enjoying a 21-point lead.
Still, the sophomore wingman continued to bring his A-game, typifying the mentality of their entire team that’s gunning for a second straight finals berth in the league.
“You got to continue playing Alaska basketball. You can’t let up,” Dela Rosa said after the Aces rolled to a 109-84 win. “Coach Alex (Compton) was telling us that this could be the game where GlobalPort could step up because their backs are against the wall if go up.”
It looked as if the Aces were the ones at a disadvantage as they kept their pedal to the metal until the final buzzer.
“We just got to keep pounding and hopefully get that win,” said Dela Rosa, who scored all but two of his nine points in the payoff period and finished with four boards, two steals, and one assist without committing a single turnover in 17 minutes off the bench.
The former San Beda standout also buried the triple that gave the Aces their biggest lead at 107-82 with exactly two minutes left.
“With a team like ours, we’re deep, so it’s just a matter of being ready and when your name’s called, you just have to play,” Dela Rosa said. “It’s all because of coach Alex’s trust in me, so when he calls my name, I just have to show up.”
Deliver he did.
“Rome comes in the end of the game and he’s flying around out there,” Compton said. “It makes me proud to coach that kid.”
Expect Dela Rosa and the Aces to have that same mentality come Game Five on Tuesday.
“We’re hoping to (finish the series),” the 25-year-old cager said. “I don’t want to guarantee anything, but hopefully this is our time.”