Alaska and TNT KaTropa try to keep pace with the league leaders as they gun for a crucial win against separate foes today in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces, who are coming off a 91-99 loss to Meralco, hope to get back to their winning ways as they battle the skidding Phoenix in the opener at 4:15 p.m. while KaTropa square off with GlobalPort at 7 p.m.
Alaska coach Alex Compton warns his players not to take the Fuel Masters lightly as the team of coach Ariel Vanguardia is capable of beating any team in the tournament.
“Phoenix is a better team than their record indicates,” said Compton, whose team is sharing the third spot with TNT with 4-1 win-loss mark apiece.
“I thought they were excellent for most of the Rain or Shine game, and Rain or Shine just had a great rally at the end. (Jameel) McKay is such an active, aggressive player who really uses his length to his advantage,” he added.
The Tagalog-speaking American mentor said Phoenix has good local players who can explode into action anytime.
“And Cyrus (Baguio), RJ (Jazul), (Matthew) Wright, and JC (Intal) are all playmakers who can both score and create for their teammates. We will really have to be consistent in guarding them and keeping McKay from absolutely dominating the glass if we want to win this game,” he added.
Aces import Corey Jefferson has been dishing out solid numbers for the Wilfred Uytengsu franchise in his first five games with the squad where he’s averaging 31.8 points and 13.2 rebounds per game.
McKay, who is averaging 23.5 points, 18.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.0 blocks per contest, needs local support for the Fuel Masters end a two-game slide.
“We need to play more physical, be the aggressor and never back down on Alaska’s physical defense,” explained Vanguardia.
TNT, meanwhile, eyes its fifth consecutive win versus Batang Pier, who finally barged into the win column after a 0-4 start.
“Our concern against GlobalPort is how to contain their guards Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle,” said TNT coach Nash Racela, who will rely on import Donte Greene. “At the same time, they also have a good import now. We have to be good in 48 minutes.”
The Batang Pier will try to make a follow up to their 85-82 win over NLEX with import Malcolm White leading the team with 23 points.