NO one could see what was happening inside the Hoops Center where a closed-door Alaska practice was being held as usual on Tuesday afternoon.
Yet anyone waiting outside could tell how intense the training session was judging by the shouting and shoe-squeaking that can be heard.
Cearly, the Aces’ mindset in this particular practice on the eve of Game Five of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel Beer was that this was going to be their last for the season-opening conference.
“That was the general idea,” Aces big man Sonny Thoss said in a short chat with Spin.ph afterward. “We don’t want to practice anymore.”
After failing to finish off the Beermen in Game Four, the Aces get their second shot at closing out the best-of-seven series in the match that tips off at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
“Yun yung pinag-usapan namin: na ito yung last practice,” Aces sniper Dondon Hontiveros said.
“Maganda yung practice namin,” he added. “Kahapon light, pero ngayon may takbuhan. Pero hindi naman sobrang tagal para fresh pa rin bukas.”
Aces star Calvin Abueva declined to grant an interview, but also appeared to make a promise.
“Pass muna. Bukas na lang 'pag tapos na (series),” he said with a smile.
Hontiveros stressed the Aces have already moved on from that disappointing 110-104 loss on Sunday where they squandered a 13-point lead with under four minutes left in regulation.
“Right after the game, focus na kaagad kami,” insisted the veteran shooter, who fouled out after just 20 minutes of play, still enough to contribute 14 points.
“Pag may maganda kaming play o may maganda kaming nagawa, tapos madala ka sa emotion mo and you forget what you have to do sa defense, so yung discipline, focus (kailangan nandun),” Hontiveros said.
“And syempre, i-match mo yung effort nung kabila because they’re backs are against the wall,” he added.
Thoss believes it’s about mental toughness throughout the entire match.
“We have to come in focused and be patient and finish the game after forty eight minutes and not just forty-five or forty-three,” the star big man said. “We just got to be more disciplined in our endgame habits.”