Defending champion Talk ‘N Text and Alaska will dispute the last remaining semifinals berth through a rubber match in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup best-of-three quarterfinals at 7 p.m. tonight at the Araneta Coliseum.
“TNT is a great team. They have players who are used to making big plays and big shots in big games,” Alaska coach Alex Compton told The Manila Times. “They have so many threats on offense that they remind me of the Phoenix Suns with Steve Nash when they were at their best.”
“We are studying how to stop them defensively,” he added. “It would be easier for us if they were also not so well-coached. But this is the great challenge of PBA playoffs. Some plays you will bring your best and it might not be good enough to stop the great players on the other teams.”
After being beaten 99-106 by Talk ‘N Text’s three-point shooting in Game 1, Alaska bounced back with a close 85-81 win in Game 2 forcing a knockout game.
Imports Robert Dozier and Shane Edwards will lead the Aces with the support of Calvin Abueva, Vic Manuel, RJ Jazul, Jayvee Casio, Sonny Thoss, Chris Banchero, Cyrus Baguio and veteran Dondon Hontiveros.
“But we embrace this challenge and we look forward to bringing our best in a do-or-die game versus a worthy opponent,” said Compton, whose wards finished the elimination round with a 7-4 win-loss record.
Abueva ended the elimination round with an average of 17.6 points and eight rebounds.
“Abueva has improved a lot and he works really hard everyday that’s why I’m very confident. I’m very much okay now,” said Dozier who just recovered from an injury.
Talk ‘N Text will plunge into action led by Jeth Troy Rosario, Moala Tautuaa, Ranidel De Ocampo, Jak Reyes, Kelly Williams, Jayson Castro, Ryan Reyes and import David Simon.
“We are going to play our best against the league’s best defensive team,” said Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico. “We just need to focus on our game plan,” added Uichico. “I’m pretty sure my players won’t just give up. We also need to play tough defense against them and execute well our offense.”
“We have a lot of turnovers in our second game against Alaska. They really got us and they really pressured us,” said Simon.
“We just have to limit our turnovers in Game 3. It is not going to be a different Game 3, we just have to play well and limit our turnovers just like in Game 1,” he added.
JOSEF T. RAMOS