MANILA, Philippines – The Alaska Aces were once again on the losing side of a PBA Finals series after falling in Game 6 of the Commissioner’s Cup Finals to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Wednesday, May 18, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It was the fourth time in the last 6 conferences and the third straight conference that Alaska advanced to the finals only to come away without a championship, but even with the second-place trophies piling up, the job of Aces head coach Alex Compton is secure.
“No, no,” was the reaction of Alaska team owner Wilfred Uytengsu when asked if Compton’s job is in jeopardy after Game 6.
“Coach Alex did a great job under the circumstances. We made a couple of mistakes in Game 2 where we let that go by, and that could have gone either way,” said Uytengsu.
“Tonight (Wednesday) they jumped out on us, but we didn’t execute as well tonight as we did in Games [4 and 5], and I think that was the difference. They played really well, they played determined, so nothing on Alex.”
Unlike last conference when Alaska jumped to a 3-0 finals series lead over San Miguel before eventually losing in 7 games, this time, the Aces were staring at an 0-3 deficit after falling in their first 3 games against the Elasto Painters.
Alaska won Games 4 and 5 to make it a competitive confrontation, but the hot shooting of Jericho Cruz (21 points) and Finals MVP Paul Lee (20 points) in Game 6 sealed the second title in Rain or Shine history.
“If you want to win, you have to want to win for 48 minutes. That’s the biggest difference,” said Uytengsu, who wasn’t specific about the remainder of Compton’s Alaska contract but said he has “a couple of years with us.”
“It was a hard-fought battle,” the owner also said about the series. “Aside from that, you just have to give credit to where credit’s due. [Rain or Shine] worked hard. They worked for it.”
Uytengsu also agreed that the absence of JVee Casio (knee) and Vic Manuel (calf), plus injuries to Ping Exciminiano (knee) and import Rob Dozier (ankle) played a role in the Aces’ elimination.
“It’s hard playing without JVee and [without] Vic and Ping not being a hundred percent. Even Rob, he was playing on a sprained ankle. It was tough, but we’re all going to be healthy and hopefully come back and play and be in the finals and hopefully win one.” – Rappler.com
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