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Compton confident Alaska can rebound

Coach Alex Compton feels the Alaska Aces have the potential to make a turnaround after last season’s disastrous campaign that saw the squad lose its mean streak.

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The Aces endured their worst season since Compton’s appointment in 2014, squandering a twice-to-beat advantage in the Philippine Cup quarterfinals despite having the No. 2 seed before going on a 14-game losing skid to miss the playoffs of the next two conferences.

Alaska retooled in the offseason by selecting former La Salle star Jeron Teng as the fifth overall pick in the PBA Draft while Vic Manuel and Sonny Thoss are hoping to rebound from an injury-marred 2016-17 season.

“I actually see how I think we can really be good, and that kind of excites me,” Compton said during a recent pocket tournament that saw the Aces post a 1-2 record in games against Rain or Shine, Phoenix and NLEX.

“You see potential and you see how things can work. Now it’s our job to get there as a team,” he added. “I need to show and lead, and they need to follow. But what I see of where we can go, I’m actually excited.”

Optimism, however, won’t be enough for Compton as Alaska looks to bring back the hard-nosed style that allowed the Aces to get back to the form that made them reach the finals four times between 2015 and 2016.

Alaska has been known for its constant knack for full-court defending, but it’s scheme was not enough to overcome the struggles in the Commissioner’s Cup and Governors’ Cup.

“For two years, I felt like we set ourselves apart with a ferocity, really a toughness. Palaban talaga kami e. And last year, we went through a funk, it was really difficult. And this year, we’re trying to build that back up,” he said.

“If we can have that ferocity, that toughness and mas maayos sana execution namin – just get a little bit more smarter, get a little bit more attention to detail, little bit better pass here, little bit better read, make better decisions, then that’s the part of what excites me because I think we have it in us.”

The arrival of Teng, and resident star Calvin Abueva, Carl Bryan Cruz, Jvee Casio and Chris Banchero leading the charge, the Aces hope to make the disappointment of 2017 just a bump in the road.

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