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PBA: Compton breaks silence

Alaska coach Alex Compton admitted yesterday that the harrowing memories of the Aces’ gigantic collapse against the San Miguel Beermen in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals continue to haunt him to this day even they prepare for the Commissioner’s Cup which began last Wednesday.

“The way it comes back to me… it’s painful,” Compton said yesterday, breaking his silence more than a week after Alaska became the first team in PBA history to lose a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven championship series.

“We lost four straight. We’re the team that was up 3-0, and the first team to ever lose (a best-of-seven). Our defense was excellent again, but our offense struggled… that was the story of Game 7,” he added.

Compton cut himself from the outside world immediately after his post-game interview in Game 7, spending several days with his family in Batangas last week to recharge his batteries and to heal himself from the heartbreaking loss.

The former MBA star-turned-coach said the sight of seeing his three children enjoy the beach was in itself “refreshing” but still found it hard to move forward.

But Compton said the only way for his team to recover is to keep pushing and give their best effort each game.

That is, as Alaska owner Wilfred Uytengsu likes to say, “play it the right way”.

“That’s always my concern. What are we going to do? How are we going to respond?” Compton shared. “I hope with an effort that honors the game, honors the Filipino basketball fans.

“In this country, there are tens of millions of Filipinos that love basketball, but have real, difficult adversity to go through. As painful as it is, it is painful for me because I am the leader and I love my guys… whose kid was hospitalized with something terminal? Whose house crumbled in an earthquake?

“There are a lot of people out there watching a wonderful sport and a great league called the PBA. I hope that we’ll step up and honor those people and we’ll overcome these adversities.

“When all is said and done, when our lives take us outside of basketball, there is more adversity coming. So what are we going to do? I hope how we respond now will help us as we go down the road with our lives,” Compton said.

Part of honoring the game, according to Compton, is to continue fighting – not quitting.

“To step down? To quit on them? To abandon them? To leave my family? Is that what real men would do? Is that what people think real man would do? I don’t think that’s an honorable thing to do,” said Compton, pointing to the three finals stints Alaska made in the last four conferences.”

Compton added: “Most people have to go through adversity and difficulty before they win. If coach Tim Cone has quit in his first two years, he wouldn’t have won championships.”

“That’s a losing mentality (to quit) that I hope none of our guys will never have. I will not stop fighting, and honoring my players and my staff with my work ethic and my desire for them to be successful. That won’t change,” said Compton.