TNT, Alaska dispute last semis slot
It’s either Tropang TNT lives to pursue a title repeat or Alaska Milk stays alive and remains in contention for a third straight finals.
The Texters and the Aces put their lofty aspirations on the line as they face off in a do-or-die setto Friday, determining the last team that will make the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup Final Four.
Game time is at 7 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum with the winner advancing to the best-of-five semifinals versus Meralco.
Reigning two-conference champion San Miguel Beer and perennial contender Rain or Shine have set their own semis showdown beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday also at the Big Dome.
TNT coach Jong Uichico simply put it – it’s gonna be a battle.
“We have had two exciting games versus TNT in this series and I expect the third to be the same,” said Alaska coach Alex Compton.
The Texters drew first blood, 106-99, Sunday, then the Aces got even with an 85-81 win Tuesday.
Both are not unfamiliar in this situation. Their duel could boil down to a question of desire and determination.
“TNT is a great team. They have players who are used to making big plays and big shots in big games. They have so many threats on offense that they remind me of the Phoenix Suns with Steve Nash when they were at their best,” said Compton.
“But this is the great challenge of the 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. But we embrace this challenge and we look forward to bringing our best in a do-or-die game versus a worthy opponent,” Compton also said.
David Simon, Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo and Troy Rosario will play key roles for TNT versus Alaska’s Rob Dozier, Calvin Abueva, Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio and RJ Jazul.
“Ang hirap ng role ko kasi ang hirap depensahan ni Jason (Castro). May tira sa labas at hindi mo rin pwede bigyan ng opening para umatake,” said Jazul, playing extended minutes on the sidelining of Jvee Casio.
For Castro, also at stake is his bid to win the Best Player of the Conference honors.
Abueva is also in pursuit of the same award.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.