Alaska, keen not to be buried in a 0-3 deficit, takes on Rain or Shine with grim determination in Game 3 of the best-of-seven finals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum at 7 p.m. tonight.
With three of his players injured, Alaska coach Alex Compton remains confident that the Aces will outclass the Elasto Painters. Alaska lost Game 1 (97-105) and Game 2 (103-105).
“Game 1 and 2 were tough. Rain or Shine came out and executed us in two close games,” Compton told The Manila Times via text message on Tuesday. “We will have to be sharper from the jump ball up to the final buzzer.”
“They [Rain or Shine] are playing great basketball and we have to play great too in order to win. We are not good and sharp enough although we have good players in our team, but I’m still optimistic that we can still comeback. Injuries are not an excuse because it happens to every team,” added Compton.
Calvin Abueva, who is leading the Best Player of the Conference race with an average of 17.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, is expected to make up for his poor performance in the first two games. Abueva finished with mere nine points and 10 rebounds in Game 1 and 14 points in Game 2.
Import Robert Dozier will try to double his effort in Game 3 with the support of RJ Jazul, Nonoy Baclao, Dondon Hontiveros, Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio, Samigue Eman, Tony Dela Cruz and Chris Banchero.
“We are not trying to overcome a 0-2 deficit. We are just trying to make the right play in front of us,” said Compton.
Alaska’s power forward Vic Manuel, Jayvee Casio and veteran Eric Menk will miss Game 3 because of injury.
In the Elasto Painters camp, coach Yeng Guiao said that he expects stronger opposition in Game 3, “I know they will comeback stronger than the first two games. We are ready to face them. We have to sustain all our efforts on Wednesday.”
The Elasto Painters will rely on the backcourt tandem of Paul Lee and Jericho Cruz with additional firepower provided by Chris Tiu, Gabe Norwood, Jeff Chan, Jireh Ibañez, import Pierre Henderson-Niles, Maverick Ahanmisi, Raymond Almazan, Jewel Ponferada, Beau Belga and Jay-R Quiñahan.
“They will play solid defense and we have to be ready. As what I’ve told my players, they are capable of coming back in this series,” said Guiao.