The Alaska Aces is scheduled for a head-to-head game against the NLEX Road Warriors at 4:00 PM on November 9, 2020, live from the AUF Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Following their 102-94 victory over NorthPort Friday, Alaska not only punched their ticket into the PBA bubble playoffs but also put themselves in a position to contend for a Top 4 finish and a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
Big men Abu Tratter and Rodney Brondial were huge in the Aces’ sixth win in 10 outings as both submitted 16 points each as they held their own trying to slow down NorthPort’s Christian Standhardinger, who came through with a career-high 39 points for his team.
Brondial also grabbed 10 rebounds to complete a double-double. Jeron Teng added 14 points while three other players also finished in double figures for Alaska, which led by as many as 23-9 early in the first period.
Coach Jeffrey Cariaso’s team bounced back from an 87-81 loss to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last Tuesday. The Aces are coming off a three-day break, rare, given that the other teams are forced to play in back-to-back days.
“We are happy with our progression throughout the conference. It’s been a tough 10 games, and it’s going to be an even tougher game next Monday to end the eliminations. It’s been a roller-coaster ride,” said Cariaso.
Meanwhile, with great resolve, NLEX sustained their spirited bubble rally and claimed another big reversal with a 124-90 toppling of reigning PBA Philippine Cup five-peat champ San Miguel Beer last Friday.
Michael Miranda and his teammates torched the Beermen with hot shooting and thus drew closer on the frontrunners with a third straight win and a 4-5 win-loss card.
NLEX coach Yeng Guiao attributed their run to the good form and rhythm they’re enjoying now. The Road Warriors remained on the Top Eight fringes, though, and Guiao said they’re not looking far ahead.
“Our attitude is still that we’re on training camp mode. We just try to get better every game and just try to get in better shape. We’re a lot sharper. We’re a lot more cohesive both on offense and defense. We’re just looking at those good sides, and if you play it right, if you do the right things, you will be rewarded with the win,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao.
Miranda sizzled with a perfect game with 22 points on 8-of-8 field shooting (4-of-4 treys) and 2-of-2 free throws as the 6-foot-6 center best typified their wondrous performance. Kevin Alas provided the early spark, making 16 of his 19 points in the first half. Kiefer Ravena, JR Quinahan, Jericho Cruz, and Anthony Semered also put in double-digit outputs.
Both driven by a desire to book a ticket to the quarterfinals, expect a dogfight between these two teams later.