MANILA, Philippines -- The Alaska Aces dropped their third consecutive game in the 2019 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Sunday, but the arrival of veteran import Diamon Simpson gives head coach Alex Compton reason to hope.
Simpson is Alaska's third import this conference but he is no stranger to the team, having played for them last year. He also memorably led the Aces to the Fiesta Conference title in 2010, putting up performances that made him a fan favorite.
In his first game back, Simpson had 22 points and 22 rebounds, but the Aces lost to Barangay Ginebra, 118-106.
"It was challenging against a good team," said Simpson after the game. "A lot of chemistry, they have. Just gotta find our chemistry and comeback stronger next week."
Compton had nothing but praise for Simpson, noting that the 31-year-old is "my type of guy."
"He … is a great team, a great defender," he said. "He's a winner. He takes responsibility first."
"I love having him on the team," he added.
What the Aces need to do now is to "fast-track" Simpson's integration into their system. They had wanted to bring in the veteran import early, but Simpson had commitments in Israel that prevented him from starting the conference with Alaska.
"You know, anytime you have an import that has been around for a while, you have more options, more things you can do. And so we just kind of try to pick and choose a few things," said Compton. "Polish those in the next week, and go against my friends at Rain or Shine, and try to get one."
With Simpson in the fold, and given how they played against Ginebra before fading down the stretch, Compton is hopeful that they can break their losing streak and get their playoff bid back on the right track.
The Aces currently have a 4-5 win-loss record, with games against Rain or Shine and Blackwater left in their schedule.
"I think we'll get better," Compton said of his team, who has a week to go before they return to the court against the Elasto Painters. "If we fight like this, we fought, we just weren't sharp enough."
"If we fight like this, we'll get better, we'll give ourselves a chance," he stressed.
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