Now on its own run with import Denzel Bowles, San Mig Coffee takes its turn to test the mettle of unbeaten pacesetter Alaska Milk in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.
The Aces gun for win No. 6 while the Mixers look to hit the .500 mark at 3-3 as they face off at 7:30 p.m.
Both anticipate a tough showdown.
“It’s going to be tough. Alaska is playing at a very high level with great confidence, and we’re still trying to get our feet under us after a poor start,” said San Mig Coffee coach Tim Cone.
“In the end, it’s going to come down to who can execute better. Hopefully, that will be us,” Cone added.
For the record, Cone is 6-0 against his former team.
Alaska coach Luigi Trillo said San Mig Coffee’s 2-3 win-loss mark is not the real indication of its strength and capability.
“Denzel Bowles really changes that team and so does Joe Devance. The thing, though, is that San Mig Coffee has good one-on-one players but they somehow always find a way to play together and share the load. It is never about one person in that team,” said Trillo.
“We have to find ways to take away match-up problems. In every position from (Mark) Barroca to (James) Yap, (PJ) Simon and even (Marc) Pingris, they can isolate. And they also tear teams apart sharing the basketball very well,” Trillo also said. “They don’t force things. Everything is within their rhythm.”
Trillo also wants everybody reminded that the core of the San Mig Coffee team reigned supreme in this tournament last year.
“They’re pretty solid, especially with Bowles back,” Trillo insisted.
The Mixers have been that since the return of Bowles to take over from Matt Rodgers. San Mig Coffee has won its last two games after three straight defeats.
Alaska, meanwhile, has been performing well since day one of the mid-season tourney.
The Uytengsu-owned ball club has yet to lose a game since losing its Philippine Cup Final Four series versus Talk n Text, beating Rain or Shine, Meralco, Barako Bull, Barangay Ginebra and Talk n Text in a hot second confab start.
The Aces were particularly impressive in their last two games against the Kings and the Tropang Texters, beating them by a huge average margin of 19 points. (SB)