Mike Harris said Alaska's defeat in Game 1 of the PBA Governors' Cup Finals served as a wake up call for the Aces as they try to even the best-of-seven title series against the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok at one game apiece on Friday.
The Aces fell behind by 15-0 early on in the series opener and went on to absorb a 100-84 beating against the Hotshots at the Mall of Asia Arena last Wednesday to the disappointment of coach Alex Compton, who rued his team's lack of effort.
Harris, who struggled for 20 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, refused to cry over spilled milk, saying the loss could serve well for the Aces when the series shifts to the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
"It's a learning experience for us and it helps," Harris said. "A lot of these guys haven't been in the Finals. Good thing it's first to four, not first to one."
Alaska used Thursday to fix some issues that contributed to the loss - particularly their offense.
The Aces missed 21 threes out of 28 attempts, made 19 of 32 free throws and turned the ball over 25 times.
"We missed a lot of outside shots and we missed a lot of free throws," said Harris. "And the last series (against Meralco) we didn't miss a lot of free throws. Had we made a few more free throws, who knows it could have been a different game."
The frontrunner for the Best Import plum acknowledge the splendid games of Magnolia import Romeo Travis as well a guards Mark Barroca and Jio Jalalon, who inflicted most of the damage on Alaska.
"It kinda looks like the Meralco thing all over again," said Harris, referring to their semis series against Meralco that had Alaska bounced back by winning three straight games after losing the first.
"We came out lackadaisical and they punched us in the mouth. Good thing it's not a one-game series. They punched us, but the best thing about getting punched is if that you're strong enough, you'll get up." (JT)