Alex Compton, Alaska fall short once more of grand prize

Delfin Dioquino
Alex Compton, Alaska fall short once more of grand prize
The 44-year-old mentor has now lost 5 straight PBA finals, a new PBA record for successive championship defeats

MANILA, Philippines – If there’s one person who understands the pain of repeatedly falling short in the PBA finals, it would be Alaska coach Alex Compton.

Compton has now lost 5 straight PBA finals as head coach after the Aces succumbed to the Magnolia Hotshots in 6 games of the best-of-seven 2018 Governors’ Cup championship duel last Wednesday, December 19. 

He now holds the league record for successive series defeats in the PBA finals. 

“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,” Compton said after they absorbed an 86-102 Game 6 loss on Wednesday.

“I mean if you ask me, ‘Would you rather go to the finals and lose or go through the 14-game losing streak and not make the playoffs?’ I’d rather be in the finals.”

“But when you’re there, when you’re a blocked shot, loose ball away from winning Game 5, when you’re there, everything just feels… it’s more painful in a sense.” 

After dropping the finals’ first two games, the Aces shifted the momentum to their side as they knotted the series score at 2-all following back-to-back blowout wins in Games 3 and 4.

Alaska then had a chance to move on the cusp of winning its first championship since the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup after taking a 76-74 lead late in Game 5.

However, a missed 3-on-1 fastbreak opportunity that would have given them a four-point lead and Paul Lee’s last-second game-winner for the Hotshots completely denied the Aces’ hopes of gaining a 3-2 series advantage. 

Then in the all-important Game 6, Alaska fell to a 0-12 hole and failed to mount a comeback as Magnolia claimed its first crown since the 2014 Governors’ Cup.  

“We’re in the finals so it’s painful to lose. Because you’re there. It’s like you have the opportunity, you want to grab it. But today they outplayed us,” the 44-year-old mentor said. 

“One day I just want to bring them to the Promised Land, you know? And we didn’t deserve it, we got beat.”

He continued: “Congratulations to Magnolia. They did a great job. And I wasn’t kidding when I said they’ve been playing the best basketball in the conference. They really have.” 

Compton, though, tries to stick to the positives of finally reaching the championship round following last season’s campaign that saw the Aces miss the playoffs for two of the 3 conferences.

“If you ask me if I’d rather have this season or last season, I’d definitely have this season. But I mean, if I try to frame things the appropriate perspective, we’re in a better spot than 10 teams.”

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.