MANILA, Philippines – Head coach Alex Compton does not want a quiet Alaska on the court again.
Aside from seeing his team smoothly execute plays, the amiable coach wants to hear the Alaska Aces loud and clear when they communicate on defense against Globalport in Game 2 of their best-of-7 semifinals series Wednesday, January 6, in the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup.
“I thought our lack of talk on defense – usually the feet are connected to the mouth – but I didn’t hear us out there (in Game 1). I was disappointed in that,” Compton admitted after the Aces faltered in Game 1, 107-93, on Monday, January 4.
“They deserve all the credit; they played really well. They beat us fair and square. They did an excellent job and maximized their talents.”
The Aces, who had a two-week lay-off by virtue of an outright semis berth after the eliminations, came out listless in Game 1 with their notoriously airtight defense nowhere to be found.
Seeing opportune cracks in the defense, gunner Terrence Romeo wasted no time getting his groove and firing shots from everywhere to explode for a new career-high 41 points. (WATCH: Terrence Romeo scores career-high 41 points in semis debut)
Romeo blitzed past every defender the Aces put on him – whether it was Calvin Abueva or JVee Casio. And it was Alaska’s struggle to contain Romeo, who now climbed from 7th to 5th place in the Best Player of the Conference race, that truly puzzled Compton. (READ: Fajardo leads BPC race through PBA PH Cup quarters)
“Apparently the defensive game plan was get out of the way of Terrence and then clap when he gets a shot,” he cracked a joke first, before turning serious. “We have a few different defenses to throw at him and a bunch of guys to throw out there.”
“There were a couple of times, I think, in the third quarter he hit back-to-back 3s to get his 30th point and both of them, he was wide open. I couldn’t figure out how the leading scorer in the league was wide open. That definitely was not the game plan,” he added.
Romeo tallied 22 points by halftime and led the Batang Pier to an early 24-6 lead. He then finished off the Aces with a dagger 3-pointer and a pair of free throws for his new career high. (READ: Ex-Powerade coach Perasol to Globalport: 'Stay together')
“We have to be better defensively but if you look at Terrence’s ability, I think if we were great defensively, maybe we would hold him to 30 points,” Compton relented.
"He’s a tremendous talent. He works on his game, he works on his scoring ability. I thought we held him a couple of times but mainly it’s because he’s really good," Compton said. (READ: Romeo uses jitters as fuel for career game in PBA semis debut)
Coming into the series, Globalport’s offense was expected to struggle against Alaska’s mighty defense. But Pido Jarencio’s strategy using multiple screeners worked at least for Game 1 and his team’s deadly offense flowed freely against a squad that limits its foes to 96 points per game so far this conference.
“I don’t think coach Pido gets enough credit for maximizing his talent. I thought he did a great job of putting his players in a position to be successful and really their guys embracing their roles,” Compton commended Jarencio.
“Collectively we were flat and they outplayed us.”
Aside from seeing and hearing his team on the court, Compton also wants to feel the intangibles from his veteran crew, and that includes a raised level of energy.
Compton refused to pin the blame for their flat energy on the long lay-off, saying the coaching staff still pushed the Aces during practices over the holiday break. In fact, Alaska had back-to-back “great” practices heading into Game 1, which ironically caused Compton to worry.
"Most of the time I’ve been on teams who had great practices, they come out flat," Compton explained.
He added: “I don’t feel it was a lack of conditioning or rust because we were working on stuff and I actually felt we got better from watching our last two practices. (For Game 2) we gotta come out, beat guys to the ball, contain our man better, challenge them and just be more of a team than we were (in Game 1).”
Game 2 will tip off at 7 pm Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (SCHEDULE: 2016 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals)
#PBA Coach Alex Compton after Alaska's loss to Globalport Posted by Jane Yvette Bracher on Monday, 4 January 2016