Despite absorbing a disappointing 88-100 loss in Game 1 of their ongoing semifinal battle against defending champion San Miguel Beer, Phoenix and its head coach Louie Alas remain unfazed and are looking forward to today’s Game 2 to even up the series.
“We will give them championship jitters. Definitely, we were disappointed, our plan was to engage them in a shootout but we lost. We also focused too much on stopping Junemar Fajardo but San Miguel’s much deeper bench responded when Fajardo was limited by our defense. But bottom line, we lost on offense,” said Alas.
Saying he would have preferred a shorter series where he believes Phoenix will have a better chance in beating the Beermen, he conceded that the championship experience of their opponents spells a lot of difference.
“But still, I told the boys that was just Game 1 and we still have a Game 2 to play after. We need to work on the mental preparation after this loss,” said Alas.
A big factor for Alas, too, was the fact that he extended the playing time of Calvin Abueva.
“He is not used to playing that long and he got tired, but I felt I had to make use of him more in Game 1. We also got affected by the physicality of the game in the early stages, even as we’re prepared for that kind of game. San Miguel used that kind of game against TNT and won so I expected them to do it again,” added Alas.
Meanwhile, SMB mentor Leo Austria gave a credit to his boys’ composure in the game.
“I told them we have been in this kind of situation before and that they just need to sustain it. We were also prepared for anything that Phoenix will do but a big factor was that we were finally complete as a team. I know that Phoenix will try to come back but we will be prepared, it will not matter to me whether it will be a short or long series, I will just take it one game at a time,” Austria said.