Alaska head coach Compton rued another missed chance to finally bring the Aces back to the Promised Land.
The Aces lost in six games to champions Magnolia Hotshots, in the Finals of the recently-concluded 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup; meaning the Aces have again failed to end their five-year title drought.
But while it hurt for the Aces to fall short of the trophy they last won in 2013, Compton felt it doubly, as he now has 0-5 Finals record – the worst in league history.
Compton took over from Luigi Trillo in 2014. He lost a championship series to fierce rival San Miguel thrice; then against Rain or Shine in 2016; and Magnolia now.
“Right now, I feel sick to my stomach.
“But you know, the bottom line is if you don’t win the championship in the PBA, you lost. So it’s all of us, we lost in the Finals. Eleven teams lost to Magnolia, we lost in the Finals. That’s how it works,” he said.
The Aces actually looked headed for the championship at last in this season-ending conference, after a masterful semifinals win against back-to-back runner-up Meralco.
Though they started on a wrong foot with an early 0-2 deficit, the Aces came back, fashioning two straight wins of their own to tie the series at 2-2.
In Game 5, Alaska trailed by as many as 17 points. But they showed their resiliency anew, stealing the lead in the last 11 seconds – only to have their hearts broken by a Paul Lee game-winner.
Championship sealed, 79-78, in favor of Magnolia.
The Aces were shattered. Magnolia had simply dominated the Hotshots in Game 6, meaning their season had ended in yet another heartbreak.
Alaska were almost there, but not quite, which made this exit more painful.
“I think what’s particularly painful about the Finals loss is that you’re there. It’s that you’re there. It’s always frustrating,” he added. “But when you’re there – when you’re a blocked shot, loose ball away from winning Game Five; when you’re there, everything just feels…
“It’s more painful in a sense.”
Nevertheless, Compton believes Alaska are on the right track to regain PBA supremacy – especially coming off a disaster season last year, marred by a franchise-worst 14-game losing skid.
“Through the season, there was a general progression. I think for us, it’s steps forward, but you never get this close and then feel good. I don’t feel good right now. You know, you’re a competitor, and your team is a competitor; you’re trying to win,” he expressed.
“One day, I just want to bring them to the Promised Land.”
The Aces may have failed anew but it’s not the end of the road for them, as the new season and new opportunities are only a month away.
And Alaska are targeting a better showing next year when the league opens its 2019 Season on January 13.