ALA 107 – GP 79
“We not me” has been the battle cry of the Alaska Aces ever since Alex Compton took over the team.
Compton brought with him a system that focused on involving everyone. This wasn’t a squad built around an alpha. What mattered was the collective effort, rather than any one individual.
It’s a style that has brought success…to a point. The Aces have been to multiple Finals series, including several against the San Miguel Beermen. However, their stints have been full of “had it not been’s” rather than actual titles. Alaska has always had to settle for bridesmaid finishes. They even blew a 3-0 lead, so rest easy Golden State fans.
And as a result, there’s been some inevitable grumbling from fans. Is it time to let go of “We not me”? Should the team start building around Calvin Abueva and his particular brand of basketball madness?
If they ever are, it wasn’t going to start in the 2017 Commissioner’s Cup.
Alaska beat down the Terrence Romeo-less GlobalPort Batang Pier, 107-79, and they did so using the same course of attack they’ve been using for a long time: We not me.
At the center of that dominant performance was import Cory Jefferson, who put up an impressive 28 points and 14 rebounds for the Aces in his debut. But despite the dominant performance which Jefferson had, it was a team effort which lifted the Aces to this victory.
Only four Aces finished in double-digits scoring-wise, but plenty chipped in to their cause. New acquisition Simon Enciso and Chris Banchero provided stability in the backcourt, combining for 10 of the team’s 27 assists. With Vic Manuel still sidelined, Calvin Abueva and Sonny Thoss held down the fort for Alaska, with 28 markers. They did this despite logging limited minutes, with touches and playing time spread out. In addition, reserves like Chris Exciminiano and Abel Galliguez had an impact, providing punch off the bench.
It’s performances like in this game that reminds fans of the beauty of “We not me.” You can lean on guys like “The Beast” and Banchero game in and game out, but what makes Alaska so deadly are those surprise performances from their less-heralded dudes. You can’t just focus your defense on one or two players. To stop the Aces, you have to shut down, well, everyone, and not every team has the personnel, strategy, or patience, to do that.
“We not me” may be the subject of jokes and doubters right now, but it’s hard to argue against consistent success. It’s pretty clear that Alaska will not be abandoning that mantra anytime soon, but perhaps with a little tinkering around the edges of the roster, and coupled with a dynamic import, maybe, just maybe, this might be the conference where it leads the Aces all the way to a championship.