AS he watched San Mig put away Alaska in their do-or-die match on Saturday, the first person that came to Aces coach Luigi Trillo's mind was Manny Pacquiao.
Well, the Alaska coach couldn't help but compare San Mig's 79-65 win over his Aces to the way the 'People's Champ' methorically picked apart American champion Timothy Bradley in their World Boxing Organization welterweight title fight in Las Vegas two weeks ago.
There were certainly a lot of parallels, Trillo said, beginning with San Mig's championship experience which he said was in full display in the sudden-death match for a place in the PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals.
"It's like I would like to think of Pacquiao in his last fight, it's methodical. Maybe Bradley didn't think he was getting hurt, but all those little hits every round in the end, he has no more gas, that's what happened to us," said Trillo.
"(San Mig) were really in every possession downright solid, not only defensively but also defensively."
In much the same manner Pacquiao carefully picked his spots and left Bradley frustrated over 12 rounds with his ring savvy, San Mig clinically dismantled Alaska's hopes for a title repeat, Trillo said.
“This (San Mig) team has a lot of experience. They know their stuff. And again, it’s like they were very methodically chipping away ... like if you look at the boxscores, we were outscored 21-15, 14-12, 22-18 and 22-20 in the fourth quarter,” Trillo pointed out.
The reigning PBA Coach of the Year said the Aces’ immaturity was soon unmasked.
After San Mig opened a big lead, Trillo said some of the Alaska players panicked and tried to overhaul the deficit with one burst - much like Bradley going for the one-punch haymaker against Pacquiao.
That resulted in a total of 26 three-point shots attempted, with Alaska making just five.
“They (Mixers) didn’t rush into it (game). Maybe, some of our players are still not there, not as mature as this team, so we were trying to go for the home run,” Trillo said.
“We didn’t execute well, everybody wanted to do their own thing because they wanted to help. There’s always that gigil like we attempted 26 threes,” he added.
“Hopefully, in time we learn to come back slowly. And you don’t try to hit the home run. We got really frustrated.”
As they lick their wounds after a failed campaign, Trillo said the Aces will take a weeklong break before returning to practice in preparation for the season-ending Governors Cup.
Trillo said the team will be reinforced by Bill Walker, a five-year NBA veteran who was a member of the Boston Celtics from 2009 to 2010 before playing two-and-a-half seasons with the New York Knicks.