COACH Alex Compton was pleased his Alaska team was able to kick off its PBA Commissioner's Cup campaign on the right foot, considering its grueling opening schedule.
"We have a nice run here of four games in 10 days, so to get one is good," said Compton following a 111-98 win over Columbian last Sunday.
But while the Dyip may have been a relatively light assignment, the Aces do not expect the same when they square off with the NorthPort Batang Pier Wednesday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Compton admitted as much, pointing out NorthPort's well-stocked arsenal led by Stanley Pringle.
"I think Stanley Pringle... most guys consider him as one of the most explosive scoring guards in the country. And there are incredible guards in the Philippines. Jayson (Castro), Terrence (Romeo), Alex (Cabagnot), Marcio"(Lassiter), Paul (Lee), MarkBarroca. You go through the list and there's incredible guards,"added Compton.
"But Stanley's... he's the best.""
It's not Pringle alone who crowds Compton's mind, however.
"Sean Anthony had an MVP-type of conference. Mo Tautuaa, I think, was in the running for Best Player of the Conference," noted Compton, referring to the two other Batang Pier who challenged San Miguel Beer center June Mar Fajardo for the top individual award in the Philippine Cup.
Even NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio drew some praise from Compton, even though the Mikee Romero-owned franchise could only wind up seventh in the season-opening tourney.
"Honestly, I feel so bad for Pido. Just from one coach watching another?
He had so many good gameplans last conference and so many good things, but some breaks didn't go their way," said Compton. "I told him, when I had a chance to talk to him, 'Wow! Ang ganda ng mga ginagawa n?o. Sayang lang.'"
Making Compton more antsy about Wednesday's game is the uncertain status of Chris Banchero, whose injured calf acted up late in the Columbian game. The Fil-Italian guard wound up with 20 points, 14 in the second half, in just over 19 minutes of action.
"One of the reasons I'm kicking myself is for playing Chris for such a long stretch," said Compton. "I'm hoping when I walk into that room, '?y, namumulikat lang siya.'' Sana, sana. We just have to wait and see."
"My calf has been bugging me a little bit. But if felt good going into the game. I was playing well so it's kinda tough to take me out at that time," related the 30-year-old Banchero.
"I kinda got it going in the third quarter. It's a little bit tight, but I'm going to get treated tomorrow."
One thing that may go NorthPort's way is Alaska unfamiliar with Batang Pier import Prince Ibeh's game.
Nothing much is known about Ibeh other than he is listed at the maximum ceiling for imports at 6-foot-10, weighs a hulking 245 pounds, played for the Texas Longhorns in college and Long Island Nets in the NBA G-League, and turns 25 only on June 3.
The burden now falls on Alaska import Chris Daniels to come up with another sterling game with help up front from Sonny Thoss and Noy Baclao while Jayvee Casio, Simon Enciso, Ping Exciminiano and Jasper Ayaay helping out Banchero in the backcourt. (NC)