HIGHLY-CHARGED COFFEE MIXERS – ACES BATTLE SEEN
It’s San Mig Coffee versus Alaska in what’s easily the most volatile matchup in the PBA Governors’ Cup Final Eight.
These two teams figured in a near free-for-all in a pre-conference game and engaged in a highly emotional, highly physical battle in their elimination-round tiff on Sept. 10.
It could well be a battle everyone will love to see as the Mixers and the Aces fight it out for a slot in the semifinals of the season-ending tourney.
San Mig Coffee and Alaska face off at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Mixers are in pursuit of a second straight Governors’ Cup Finals stint while the Aces are in chase of a follow-up to their Commissioner’s Cup title conquest.
Coach Tim Cone and his troops, however, have a big advantage over the Aces with their twice-to-beat incentive earned for their second-place finish behind the Petron Blaze Boosters in the elimination round.
The Mixers logged a 6-3 win-loss record in the elims as against the Aces’ 4-5 mark.
Nonetheless, Cone is very much wary of his former lieutenant Luigi Trillo and his former team Alaska.
“We’re surprised to see Alaska so early in the playoffs. We thought we might see them in the semis or Finals. But obviously, they’re not a seventh seed-like team and we have to make sure we don’t treat them as such,” said Cone.
“We really can’t think beyond (Wednesday’s) game. We have to just stay focused on what’s in front of us and make sure we take care of business,” Cone added.
The Aces also have high respect on Cone and his team.
“If there is a time to meet San Mig, it is now. They will be harder to match up against down the road in a best-of-seven,” said Trillo.
“In my opinion, they have the deepest lineup on paper. Last year in this same conference, they ended up first at the end of the elimination. (Marcus) Blakely is a big thorn for any team. He gets away with what he pleases in the game,” Trillo also said.
Blakely showed up in a fighting mood in their elims duel, piling up 28 rebounds, 22 points and eight assists to lead the Mixers to a 95-82 win.
The two teams were separated in hot confrontations not a few times in a highly charged duel then.
It was highly physical and emotional, replete with action and drama but not the kind of finish that it deserved.
Everything went wrong in a stretch of nearly seven minutes for Alaska, and San Mig pounced on the situation, breaking away en route to the big win.
It was, however, a nip-and-tuck battle three-fourths of the way. (SB)
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