Just my opinion: All-Filipino Choker?
By n.d. a.k.a. nestor
23:16 / 11:16 p.m.
Anyway, before reading this, I’ll apologize to the fans of Alaska Aces if I suggest you to turn away from this blog post or you might get hurt reading it and ending up hitting a protest with my name on it.
For the last two All-Filipino Conferences in the Philippine Basketball Association, One team had a very fat chance of winning the conference title and also the same team whom failed to win it all. If you guess any of the San Miguel Corporation teams, well, you definitely got that wrong. If you think about the Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters whom had been drained emotionally after blowing the game series and a walkout? Hey, wrong either. You have forgotten they won the title over this subject topic team I’m talking right now. If Alaska Aces is your answer, well, sad but needless to say you got it right.
I know they won grand slam titles way back in 90s, including the All-Filipino Cup in ’96 and the Fiesta tourney in 2007, but this time around they got a possible addition to their championship history and yet failed big-time. How drastic, huh?
First, in 2009, they were 2-0 against the Smart Communications franchise and even 3-2 (thanks to Willie Miller’s surprising trey in clutch) only to lose out in Game 7 by… yes the same Miller guy whom this time missed free throws in the dying seconds. Perhaps he felt the pressure like never he had before. You can blame the guy if you want at that moment, especially on the high-percentage free-throw shooter like him whom can’t handle things in proper.
And just this past All-Filipino tournament, they topped the eliminations despite failing to swept out the first round but what’s even worse is that you were swept out in the finals after sweeping their opponent in the semifinal series. First, they had a chance to sweep the first round only to lose to then cellar-dweller Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters… and Donald Dulay’s clutch power in the rainbow country. Ironically it was the battle of the first and last-placer of the conference and it was set on November 13, 2009. Talk about Friday the 13th game, huh? (I don’t think it’s somewhat pure coincidence though)
Come playoff time, this really matters the most anyway. The first seed Aces had a long layoff after clinching an automatic semifinal berth and shrugged off any signs of rust when they swept put Ginebra 4-0 in the said round. Apparently, Tim Cone had quoted out after Game 3 (lucky break for us sports writing contestants at that moment) that “3-0 in not a safe lead when you’re facing Ginebra.” Well, let’s move fast forward. Then, it was the finals versus Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants, whom many picked to win the title though at that moment they were the underdogs since they came out through a long, windy road in the playoffs. At 0-1 loss it’s okay ‘coz the Giants will expect the Aces to fight back. Game 2 came and they ended up 0-2 in a controversial call in endgame… Nah, wait a sec! I think that drove them away from winning the title. They blew out their lead and the call leads to controversial question of foul or no foul (I remember seeing tons of comments of it at PBA Radyo’s Facebook account). They almost had the same story in Game 3. Except for the call though, but the “Mr.Thriller” failed to win it again like the old times of ’09 after he failed to knock a runner shot in their final possession. Thus, found themselves in a deep hole 0-3, after blowing their lead anew. And game 4 really show that they had no chance to snatch the title at all after seeing themselves down by double digit within the last 2 minutes of game 4. It seems that these past 2 years, All-Filipino Cup turned out to have a mediocre ending for Alaska. They swept out Ginebra in February 17, and they were swept out by Purefoods 2 weeks later (March 3.) Ain’t that an irony and an upset?
So, for the aces, you may say they choked out in the near end. They choked out after failing to keep their heads in the game enough. But on the other side, they were just humans, and players. No matter how hard or how high the spirits these guys have to win the games and trophies, they will always ending up tired and frustrated ‘coz simply the game doesn’t favors anyone even a superb team like them during that state. There’s a Filipino saying that Bilog ang bola. So, expect more upset results in the playing court, but hopefully (if you’re Alaska Aces fan) not on a winning team like this one. And expect the saying "history repeats itself" goes over and over again...