subscribe: Posts | Comments

Alaska explains why it didn’t stand in way of Campbell departure

Alaska explains why it didn’t stand in way of Campbell departure

ALTHOUGH Antonio Campbell was a perfect fit for Alaska, it was difficult to hold on to someone who’s heart was no longer with the team.

The beginning of the end for the relationship between the Aces and Campbell began when the 23-year-old import received an offer to suit up in the ongoing NBA Summer League that later proved to be a major distraction in the team’s campaign in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

The Aces were going great guns earlier with Campbell around, stringing up seven straight wins after losing their first game of the conference to line themselves up for a shot at the top seed heading to the playoffs.

But things spiraled when Campbell suddenly found himself torn between accepting or resisting the offer to play in the Summer League.

“He was getting some advice that was saying that if he turned this down (offer), it will set his career years back,” recalled Alaska coach Alex Compton of Campbell’s dilemma.

“He believed that playing in the Summer League is the best way to make the NBA. That’s his dream, he always wanted to make the NBA, he always wanted to be an NBA player,” added Compton. “So he was struggling with that.”

Eventually, Campbell’s predicament took its toll on his game.

With the Alaska import ‘s mind wandering, the Aces lost crucial back-to-back games against Meralco and Barangay Ginebra by an average margin of 17 points.

“It showed with the way he played. Nawala talaga yung gana niya sa laro dito,” said Compton. “Hindi naman kami puwedeng maglaro na walang gana ‘yung import. So we have to make a change because we just didn’t have a choice.”

Alaska management let go of Campbell and brought back import Diamon Simpson, who is best remembered for leading the franchise to a championship upset of favored San Miguel Beer during the 2010 Fiesta Cup.

But Compton said the team and Campbell parted ways amicably.

“I understand the kid. He’s a kid, you got to remember,” stressed the Alaska coach. “He’s the youngest in our team at 23 and he’s got dreams.”

“It was a tough situation. Ideally he would still play hard and we’ll talk about it later on, but that lack of effort the last couple of games was really hard.”

Campbell has since hooked up with the Orlando Magic and is now playing in the Orlando Summer League.

On the other hand, the Aces have gotten back in their winning ways with Simpson on board as they snagged the second twice-to-beat edge in the playoffs after finishing at no. 2 following their 114-91 victory over Phoenix at the end of the eliminations.

Alaska will now take on No. 7 Magnolia in the quarterfinals and only need to win once to advance in the semis.

And despite the bumps along the way, Compton still sees something positive out of it.

“It could go down as a blessing in disguise,” he said. “Diamon is a great guy, he’s a pro. So we’ll see what happens.”