|For Alex Compton, the Alaska-Kia match is more than just a mere match. Denver Lachica (file photo)|
By Ivan Saldajeno
MANILA--Despite making the Northern Conference Finals of the inaugural season of the MBA in 1998, the Manila Metrostars took on a different path by replacing Ricky Dandan with Louie Alas as their head coach ahead of the 1999 season.
Alex Compton, the star point guard of Manila then, bared that he did not want Dandan to exit the team.
"I was fighting with him 'coz I wanted him to fight to be and keep being my coach," Compton said.
The coaching change turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Alas led the Metrostars to a 22-game winning streak, which remains as the longest winning run in Philippine professional basketball to this day, en route to their one and only MBA title.
But while his friendship with Alas further blossomed when they worked together with Alaska, the current Aces mentor still cherishes his partnership with Dandan a lot, especially post-MBA.
"We've become good friends and colleagues," Compton said. "If I ever play golf in the Philippines, it's almost always with Coach Ricky."
Compton, however, will be Dandan's adversary for the meantime on Sunday night as Alaska and Kia lock horns at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City at 4:30 p.m.
Both clubs had contrasting fates in their last games on Wednesday night with the Aces beating the Meralco Bolts and the Picanto dropping a 47-point defeat to the Magnolia Hotshots for the second straight time in their head-to-head series.
But despite Kia losing its last 15 games overall, Compton remains wary of a possible upset.
"[Coach Ricky's] a great coach," he quipped.
Still, Compton looks forward to their meeting with positivity.
"It will be great to see him," he said. "It will be fun."
In the nightcap at 6:45 p.m., Magnolia trade barbs with NLEX.
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