IT took some words from team owner Wilfred Steven Uytengsu to shake up Alaska from a stupor on Sunday night.
After watching the Aces fall behind, 47-41, to also-ran NorthPort at the end of the first half of their PBA Governors Cup match, Uytengsu went inside the dugout to give his team a pep talk.
Uytengsu admitted he was upset over the effort of the team in the first half of such an important game for the Aces, who needed the win to secure the twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
“It will be a shame to lose that opportunity if we didn’t play the type of game that they are known for,” said Uytengsu, recalling what he said to the team.
“I said, I’m sure that you are thinking that they are not that good of a team because they have only two wins. But look at the score at halftime. They are killing us.
“You either play your brand of game and play with the pride of Alaska basketball or you are going to be sorry at the end of this game and we will have to do it the hard way,” said Uytengsu.
Uytengsu said he spoke for “maybe 60 seconds," but it was enough to wake up the Aces, who responded by taking a 64-62 lead at the end of the third. Alaska then went on a 14-0 run to take a 95-85 win.
Alaska coach Alex Compton said Uytengsu’s words were huge for the team.
“I’m grateful that our owner is such a great communicator. He came in and for about one-and-a-half minutes laid down a message that I think changed the game for us. Because it wasn’t X’s and O’s. I’m grateful for that. It makes the job a lot easier. And the guys responded,” Compton said.