Game 1 may have been attributed to luck, Game 3 may have been just another good shooting day for the Aces, but Game 4 was not another lucky day for Alaska. Had they been lucky last night, this team could have been crowned the comeback champions of all time. It didn’t happen though, for a multitude of reasons.
Being down by as much as 22 and 21 in Games 1 and 3 respectively, Alaska made miracles happen as they turned the tables to grab series leads in both comebacks. The Aces were even crowned the new “Never Say Die” team. But in Game 4, a 29-point deficit was too much to handle for the Aces as San Miguel finally figured out the mystery of Alaska’s comebacks.
There are many reasons why the Aces fell short this time. A Dondon Hontiveros missed three-point attempt at the height of another would-be rally spun around the rim but went out. Some costly turnovers, which were not seen during their Game 1 and 3 resurgences, could also be considered reasons for their failed revolt.
But the missed comeback can be attributed to two main factors. First is that the Aces may have run out of gas as they tried to pressure all conference long, especially in their difficult finals encounters. Secondly, the Beermen may have found an answer to the running game of the Aces.
What really happened?
The simple answer is, “We got beaten.”
These were the words of Alaska head coach Alex Compton. It’s a three-word sentence, but that really is the story of the game. As Compton pointed out, his wards didn’t win in any statistical department- although that wasn’t actually the case as they still got the better of San Miguel in terms of bench scoring, fast break points, and inside points.
A 35-53 difference in rebounds may be the shortest summary of the rout, which took the Beermen two attempts to pull off. Also, San Miguel made 11 more three-pointers than the Aces and maybe this statistic alone tells the story of the game. Is it possible that Alaska is running out of steam? Compton had to dig deeper into his bench, inserting Rome Dela Rosa for the majority of the crucial parts of the second half when they were not successful in their half-court trap.
“We just have so much respect for Alaska,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria.
While Compton felt that they were truly beaten, Austria said that his team just has so much respect for the Aces and they really prepared for possible comebacks coming into the game. The Aces’ comeback attempt could have been cut short considering the Beermen were already anticipating a possible turn of the tables once again.
“This is a seven game series, we just have to get back in Game 5,” quipped Alaska team captain Tony dela Cruz, believing his team doesn’t have to be down after their Game 4 meltdown.