By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter
THE Alaska Aces face a very steep climb in their best-of-five Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) semifinal series with the defending champions San Miguel Beermen after going down, 2-0, but the team is choosing not to dwell too much on the hole it is in but more on how it can get out of it and turn things around.
Pushed to the brink of eliminations after falling anew in Game Two of the series, 105-94, on Monday, the Aces have to sweep their remaining games in the semifinals to escape and advance, a setup Alaska coach Alex Compton said is not going to be easy but nonetheless something that they are determined to accomplish.
“We’re gonna fight again. We’re up against a great team, a championship team. We’re missing some pieces, but we’re gonna fight,” said Mr. Compton to members of media following their Game Two loss at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mr. Compton and the Aces were able to buy added time to prepare after Game Three set for Wednesday was postponed to today because of bad weather, but the Alaska Aces said the road block that is San Miguel is still there.
“When you play a team like San Miguel, you can’t take everything away. I wish we could,” said Mr. Compton of how it has been for his team, which continues to be undermanned in the series with Chris Banchero (personal emergency) and Calvin Abueva (team suspension) still out.
“Their (San Miguel) 1-2-3 combination of Marcio [Lassiter], Arwind [Santos], Chris Ross, and then [Christian] Standhardinger, [Kelly] Nabong off the bench, and they haven’t used Matt Rosser yet, who is a number four pick. They are so deep and so big and you try to take away certain plays, you try to key on certain things but you can’t take a hundred percent away,” added the coach, who also underscored the kind of impact league most valuable player June Mar Fajardo, import Renaldo Balkman and guard Alex Cabagnot have had for the Beermen.
In trying to overturn things, Alaska will try to continuing riding on the efforts of Diamon Simpson while also hoping that the other Aces get to step up their game.
In two games in their semifinal series so far, Mr. Simpson has been averaging 25 points, 19.5 rebounds, two assists, four steals and 4.5 blocks a game.
Backstopping him is best player of the conference contender Vic Manuel with averages of 15.5 points and 5.5 rebounds.
“We’re gonna play as hard as we can to honor this game, honor the Alaska uniform and leave it all out there. There’s no other way to do it,” Mr. Compton said on how they will approach the situation they are in.
Game Three of the San Miguel-Alaska semifinal series is set for 7 p.m. at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.