Game Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Alaska vs Star
(Alaska leads series 1-0)
The Alaska Aces, who have gained a reputation as the league’s “Comeback Kids,” try to inch closer to a return trip to the finals when they shoot for a commanding 2-0 lead on the defending champion Star Hotshots in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Alaska rallied from an 18-point second quarter deficit to stun Star, 97-91, in the best-of-five opener two days ago, the latest in a string of come-from-behind victories this season.
But the Aces, who also came from behind to eliminate crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the quarters, would want nothing more than a much-consistent performance in tonight’s 7 p.m. encounter and gain control of a series that could change tempo in a split second.
“I’m sure Star will come back,” said Alaska Coach Alex Compton, whose squad has also been dubbed by fans as the PBA’s newest “Never Say Die” team, a mantra popularized by the Ginebra team.
The huge rally capped off a busy day for an inspired Compton, whose Filipina-Irish wife Michelle gave birth to the couple’s first daughter Annika.
But the Aces had little inspiration at the start when the Hotshots took a 41-23 late shortly before halftime.
Compton gave his team a pep talk at halftime, saying the Hotshots were not their “kuyas”.
“I felt that we’re respecting them a lot, we’re a little scared,” he said.
Alaska needed a big third quarter by import Romeo Travis to orchestrate the comeback. The former high school teammate of NBA star LeBron James scored 11 of his 28 points in the third, turning a 51-36 halftime deficit into a 70-all deadlock entering the fourth.