DIAMON Simpson had a monster double-double for Alaska but his big game, unfortunately, didn’t translate into a victory for the Aces on Saturday night.
Simpson, a balik-import having led Alaska to the 2010 Fiesta Cup title, had 31 points and 24 rebounds, and also added five steals and two blocks for the Aces, but his team suffered a 92-79 loss to mighty San Miguel in Game One of the best-of-five semifinals.
Game Two is on Monday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“I don’t think that stats reflected,” said Simpson. “It’s disappointing that we lost. We were in the championship before. That’s my expectation now. But it’s a little more challenging. A lot more teams are polished. It’s going to be tough.”
It was the first time Simpson played San Miguel this conference, with Antonio Campbell still the Alaska reinforcement when the Aces beat the Beermen in an out-of-town game in Dumaguete City.
Alaska coach Alex Compton, though, commended Simpson’s effort in the series opener, saying his game is already coming out with him being with the team for a few weeks already.
“By virtue of the fact that Diamon's been here for weeks, some of our options are really limited. But he's been playing great,” said Compton.
Having faced the team for the first time, Simpson saw for himself how tough the Beermen are with a stacked lineup of Renaldo Balkman and June Mar Fajardo as well as the bench.
“It’s a good team. Further than Balkman and June Mar, the guards, the bench, they have a lot. You can’t take anything away from them. They played hard. They played great. We have to come out more aggressive than the next game and do our best,” said Simpson.