Alaska head coach Alex Compton has brought the Aces to the finals five times since taking the reins from former team mentor Luigi Trillo.
But in all five appearances, he always came out on the losing end.
"Right now I feel sick to my stomach, but you know, the bottom line is, if you don't win the championship in the PBA, you lost. So it's all of us, we lost in the Finals. Eleven teams lost to Magnolia, we lost in the Finals. That's how it works," Compton said after his team lost in Game 6.
The most frustrating about it is the Aces were a possession away from taking Game 5, but Paul Lee sank the leaner that gave the Hotshots the momentum heading into the series-clincher, where they led from start to finish to claim the title.
"I think what's particularly painful about the Finals loss is that you're there. It's that you're there. It's always frustrating," he said.
"I mean, if you ask me, would you rather go to the Finals and lose, or go through the 14-game losing streak, and not make the playoffs, I'd rather be in the Finals. But when you're there, when you're a blocked shot, loose ball away from winning Game 5, when you're there, everything just feels... it's more painful in a sense."
As painful as it was, import Mike Harris didn't want to dwell on it. He vows, though, to come back stronger - if the Aces decide to bring him back in next season.
"I can't really talk about it. It's over with. Can't really cry over spilled milk. But it's definitely fuel, motivation for next year," Harris said.
While the loss was a heartbreaker, it hardly dampened Compton's spirit.
"One day I just want to bring them to the Promised Land, you know? And we didn't deserve it, we got beat. Congratulations to Magnolia. They did a great job. And I wasn't kidding when I said they've been playing the best basketball in the conference. They really have," the American mentor said.
The road to the Promised Land is only going to be rougher, but they will get there eventually. The new season starts on January 13, and the Aces will use all the rest they can get before plunging back into action.
"Seriously, we got some guys that are banged up, they're gonna need some time... so I don't know how we'll be able to start the preseason," Compton said.
"But if there was a break before the next season for us, where we could then have a preseason, us coaches like a six-week preseason. Then that would be really good. This will be a challenge, to stay the least."