Alaska battles NLEX
Already the league’s hottest team, the Alaska Aces have no plans of cooling down as they try to formalize their entry into the quarterfinals at the resumption of the 2018 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.
Winners of six straight, the Aces (6-1) can enter the quarters outright should they notch a seventh straight victory when they face the hapless NLEX Road Warriors (2-6) in their 7 p.m. encounter at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City tonight.
In the opener, the Meralco Bolts (5-2) look to move closer to a berth in the quarters as well when they go up against already ousted Blackwater Elite (1-8) at 4:30 p.m.
Alaska can also regain a share of first place with another win as it can tie Rain or Shine.
With Vic Manuel continuing to wax hot in his stunning resurgence, the Aces have been riding him and he has led them to six wins in a row.
The last time out, Manuel set a new career-high by dropping 35 points in Alaska’s 103-99 win over Magnolia last Sunday.
“Vic (Manuel) has just been playing exceptional for us. He’s been carrying us all conference long,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.
Manuel’s surge is big for Alaska as it will continue to miss the services of two key players in Calvin Abueva (indefinite team suspension) and Jeron Teng (recovering from injury).
On the other hand, the Road Warriors would have to upset the Aces if they want to keep their sagging chances of making the top eight alive.
NLEX basically has to sweep its remaining assignments to hopefully forge a playoff for a spot in the quarters.
The Bolts, who are on a two-game winning streak, have also been consistent all tournament long and third straight victory will allow them to be at the doorstep of the quarters as well.
Meralco is also trying to keep in step with the top two teams as it looks to snatch one of the two twice-to-beat incentives as well.