• Alaska guns for third straight win

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    Alaska will be eyeing for a third straight victory when it faces Phoenix Petroleum today in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

    The Alaska Aces and the Phoenix Fuel Masters will clash in the second game at 7 p.m. after the 4:15 p.m. opening game between the Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Road Warriors and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.

    Alaska, with a 2-1 win-loss record, previously beat Talk ‘N Text 108-100, and Rain or Shine 128-102, last week. The Aces are behind leading team Meralco that is unbeaten in five games.

    “We have a great deal of respect for Phoenix,” Alaska head coach Alex Compton told The Manila Times on Thursday. “Coach Koy [Banal] has created a great culture and they play really hard.”

    “Phoenix’s import Kevin Pinkney is an import who has been on my radar for four years now, so I know how good he is. I expect an exciting, fast-paced hard fought game [against Phoenix],” added Compton.

    Newcomer Phoenix, with for a 1-2 win-loss record, will attempt to stop a two-game losing skid.

    “It is all about mental toughness. We have to show some urgency,” said Phoenix coach Koy Banal. “I believe though that we can beat them [Alaska]. Their coaching staff, in fact, is doing a tremendous job giving us some headaches in every department.”

    Meanwhile, the NLEX Road Warriors, with a 2-2 win-loss record, will lean on import Al Thornton, Paul Asi Taulava, Kevin Alas, rookie Garvo Lanete, Sean Anthony, Jonas Villanueva and Simon Enciso to notch another win.

    “Rain or Shine is a very strong team, well coach, that’s why I’m quite surprised they lost their last three games, but I know they will be back strong,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez. “It will be a tough game for us but we are always ready every game.”

    JOSEF T. RAMOS

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