Alaska Aces Head Coach Alex Compton likened his team’s lethargic first half performance in Game 1 of the PBA Governors’ Cup semi-final against Star Hotshots to a little brother getting to afraid and easily bothered by his “kuya.”
“I told them they’re not our ‘kuya.’ We were playing like we were respecting them too much. Don’t get me wrong, the very first thing we emphasize is honor. We honor everybody,” Compton said. “Star is great, but we felt in the first half we treated them like our ‘kuya,’ and we were scared of our ‘kuya.’ It upset me.”
The Aces trailed by 15 by halftime, and failed to keep up with the Hotshots’ ball movement, as they yielded too many assisted field goals.
Compton added he wanted the Aces’ identity to show in the second half, and the composure got the team going.
“I got a tough group of guys I get to coach everyday. They are a group that sacrifices, that believes they never give up until the end. That was not the first half and we talked about that. I just wanted our identity to show in the second half,” he said.
The Aces eventually were able to erase a huge deficit and won 97-91, behind a 53-41 rebounding edge, and 23 second chance points. The Hotshots failed to get stops down the wire, as their chances of securing the opener went down the drain.
Compton lauded the effort of the Aces to showcase what they were made of just in the nick of time.
“We have to play like who we are and that is what we did in the second half. I felt we were not putting our head right there in the first half. Our emphasis is we go hard from start to finish. If we are down 7 with 20 seconds left, we can win. These guys are great. It’s their heart and unity that has gotten us this far,” he said.
*Photo by PBA Images