The Alaska Aces are missing two vital cogs in their system but it did not look that way when they handled the challenge of the Magnolia Hotshots and kept their league-best winning streak going on Sunday.
They were missing a combined 14.7 points and 13.7 rebounds from Calvin Abueva, who has been indefinitely suspended by the team for being missing-in-action, and Jeron Teng, who's still recuperating from stab wounds he suffered in an altercation.
While Alaska head coach Alex Compton admitted that it would be very difficult to expect two individuals to cover the output of their two forwards, he was proud that all of them chipped in.
"There were some loose balls and offensive rebounds that I don't think there's anybody else in the league could get to except Calvin," said the coach. "But Vic (Manuel) got great rebounds, JVee (Casio) had a big rebound late in the game. You'll never replace one guy like Calvin with another guy. It has to be all of us trying to account for that speed and energy and hustle, and that's what we're doing."
For Compton, the circumstances of the game made his job of rotating players easier.
"I could not take Vic out of the game," said Compton about his highest-scoring local who set a new career high with 35 points in the 103-99 win against the Hotshots. "The Alaska fans would probably bury me alive if I took him out of the game with him playing that way. Vic played a lot more minutes. Tony (Campbell) got a lot more minutes. K-Racs (Kevin Racal) has always been a steady guy for us. He's very smart and a very tough defender and committed to team play, which are all outstanding qualities."
Campbell normed 33.3 minutes in their first six games but played almost 40 against Magnolia while Manuel played a couple of minutes more than his 20.5 average.
Compton added that Ronald Pascual could continue to get minutes and Davon Potts may also get his chance, depending on the matchups.
"I don't know where in the coach's handbook where there's a page or a chapter to help me deal what we just went through with our two guys in the past week," Compton said. "But the league isn't going to stop for us. We have a job to do and we have a locker room full of players and I'm proud of the effort the guys played with."