SONNY Thoss has been in this situation with Alaska before, and he’s hoping history would repeat itself.
The Aces get another chance to pull off another special feat on Wednesday when they try to complete a comeback from 2-3 down against San Miguel Beer in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.
Alaska tied the best-of-seven title series at 3-3 following its 87-76 win over the Beermen in Sunday’s Game Six before a crowd of 14,259 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces previously did the trick during the 2007 Fiesta Conference championship showdown when they stormed back from a similar 2-3 deficit to beat Talk `N Text for the title.
The 6-foot-7 Thoss, the only member of that 2007 team who remains with the team, remembered with fondness how the team worked hard to win the crown.
“(I was) still growing (in my PBA career). Yeah,” said Thoss, who was only in his third year in the league at the time.
But in as much as he’s looking to accomplish the same thing again, Thoss refused to be carried away at the moment following the Aces’ huge 11-point win.
“I don’t want to get too excited. We have an opportunity here for a knockout game. Now we have to keep ourselves composed, stay disciplined,” he said.
Alaska skipper Tony dela Cruz was already with the team during that time, although he was with the national team under coach Chot Reyes that saw action in the 2007 Fiba Asia Men’s Championship.
While Alaska’s current roster is completely different from the one it had eight years ago, Thoss is happy this current batch of Aces have shown the character to battle back three times from big deficits against the Beermen in the ongoing all-Filipino Finals.
“We’ve got character-type players, guys who keep on growing. They are hardworking guys. They can come in and then they leave it all on the line,” said the 33-year-old former James Cook University stalwart.
Alaska managed to beat San Miguel in Games One and Three after coming back from 22 and 21 point deficits, respectively.
Game Six was no different as the Aces overcame a 14-point, first quarter deficit behind its trademark full-court pressing defense.
Meantime, Dela Cruz expects nothing to come easy in Game Seven.
“Anything that’s worth getting is gonna be hard,” said Dela Cruz, one of several senior players at Alaska at 36.
“Nothing’s gonna be handed to us. If we want to win the all-Filipino, which is the most prestigious, we gotta battle,” he added.
“Nothing’s guaranteed now. And now we’re on a knockout gamer, everyone’s super focused. Hopefully, we’re the ones winning on Wednesday.”