MANILA, Philippines – It was painful moment for Alaska when it suffered a humiliating 51-point loss to Rain or Shine, but veteran Dondon Hontiveros is only thankful that it happened.
“Sabi nga ni coach Alex [Compton], ang dami naming pinagdaanan this conference. ‘Yung 51-point loss, ‘yun ‘yung parang wake-up call,” Hontiveros said in the league’s official website after his team qualified for the semifinals.
The 37-year-old shooting guard pointed to that loss as their lowest point in the tournament, which saw the exit of coach Luigi Trillo and the appointment of Compton as Alaska’s new head coach.
“Wala nang pwede pang ibaba eh,” he added. “Nakita ko si [Rain or Shine owner] Raymond Yu, sabi niya kahit sinong kalaban nila that game, mananalo sila.”
“Kami naman, kahit sino ang kalaban namin, kahit D-League siguro tatalunin kami with the way we played. Tapos na 'yun and it’s just one of those days na kahit anong try namin, wala talaga.”
Hontiveros said the humiliation became a motivation for them to become a better team, worthy of a seat in the final four.
Since that lopsided defeat, Alaska racked up fourth straight wins, including a 92-81 victory that eliminated Barangay Ginebra from the PBA Governors’ Cup contest.
“Yung naging reaction ng team, positive, like maganda 'yung pag-set-up ni Henry Walker sa mga teammates namin… We just followed his lead at nagsunod-sunod na yung magandang games at improvements,” Hontiveros said.
That victory enabled Alaska to secure a spot in the semifinals, where it will again meet the same team that inflicted their greatest defeat.
But for Hontiveros, this will give them the opportunity to prove Rain or Shine wrong
“This is a good chance para sa amin, hindi para makabawi, pero to show na we’re not the same team na tinalo ng Rain or Shine," he said.