Top seed Alaska and GlobalPort are on collision course Monday night when they start the best-of-seven semifinals series of Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Game 1 starts at 7 p.m.
After reaching the top two with a 9-2 win-loss record during the elimination round, coach Alex Compton of the Aces is gearing up for a highly tough emotional and physical series against the Batang Pier who survived two pressure-packed games in the quarterfinals.
“GlobalPort possess a great challenge for us and they are playing excellent basketball,” Compton told The Manila Times via text message. “We will need to be a cohesive unit on both sides of the ball and we have thoroughly prepare for any adjustments they make.”
“Their coach has gotten them well-prepared and they play hard.” Armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, the Batang Pier, who ended the elimination round with a 7-4 record, easily crushed the Barako Bull Energy (94-85) in the first phase of quarterfinals.
GlobalPort pulled-off a slim 84-83 win over Ginebra in their highly-emotional controversial game in the second knockout quarterfinal stage to advance in the semifinals for the first time since entering the league in 2012. “We are excited and ready. The boys are all healthy and well-prepared. Of course, just like any other team in the best-of-seven semifinals series, we are also looking forward to win game one,” said GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio.
“We’re hoping to surprise Alaska with our new game plays. It will be a different GlobalPort now,” he added. “Terrence Romeo is now starting to get his rhythm after playing for the national team (Gilas). Anthony Semerad is helping us a lot. We just have to stick together as a team.”
GlobalPort’s leading scorer Romeo, who averaged 23.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in the elimination round, will spearhead the Batang Pier’s campaign together with Anthony Jay Washington, Pringle, Keith Jensen, Joseph Yeo and Billy Mamaril, among others.
Pringle averaged 21.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game also during the elimination round.
Alaska, on the other hand, will bank on Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, Jayvee Casio, RJ Jazul, Dondon Hontiveros, Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio, Chris Banchero and Tony Dela Cruz, among others.
Abueva averaged 13.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 2.0 assists per game, while Manuel had 16.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game average.