Squared up with six games apiece.
Alaska and GlobalPort have that record in their head-on duels, hinting at an exciting showdown in their side of Final Four face off in the 2016 Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup.
Both well rested, the Aces and the Batang Pier are expected to figure in a dogfight in the opener of their best-of-seven semifinal series at 7 p.m. Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The two teams have split their 12 tiffs thus far, with five won by four points or less.
But this is the first time that they clash in a playoff matchup.
The Aces will be out to reestablish themselves as a champion team – a Grand Slam-winning team at that – while the Batang Pier set out to continue a breakthrough run in their third season in the pro league.
Alaska seeks a third final appearance in four conferences while GlobalPort, in its first Final Four stint, hopes to push its drive further.
Alaska’s advantage is its taller and more experienced frontline crew led by its new version of Bruise Brothers in Vic Manuel and Calvin Abueva.
Then they also have Sonny Thoss, Eric Menk and Sam Eman to form a frontcourt that could really be a tough wall to break for Jay Washington, Doug Kramer, Billy Mamaril and Rico Maierhofer.
But GlobalPort has aces that provide the team an edge in the backcourt in Terrence Romeo, Stanley Pringle and Joseph Yeo.
“Defending Stanley and Terrence one-on-one is a real issue for us. On the other side, we’ve got guys who can score inside. I think their bigs are hardworking, but Sonny and Eric pose problems for them. It is two distinctly different teams, and both teams pose separate problems for each other,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.
“They shoot a higher volume of threes and have the ball in their hands a longer time. We run a motion offense where guys move a lot and we throw the ball inside a lot. I think it’s oversimplifying it, but I know our defense will be incredibly challenged,” Compton also said.
GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio admits it is no-brainer they will bank a lot on Romeo and Pringle.
“They are the biggest reasons why we are here, and we will again ask them to take us to the championship,” Jarencio said. “The only difference is in the way I will play them [in the semis series]. I have to manage their minutes.”
Compton may have the edge over Jarencio in terms of experience in coaching in a long series.
“We are new in playing in a series this long. That’s why it is important for the coaching staff to be able to keep [Romeo and Pringle] fresh the entire time,” Jarencio said.
It is a race-to-four-games series where the winner advances to the title playoff versus the victor in the San Miguel Beer-Rain or Shine playoff.