Alaska, enjoying its best start in nearly four years, tries to sustain its surprising run when it tackles Talk ‘N Text Friday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Unbeaten in four games, Alaska coach Luigi Trillo expects a tough game against Norman Black’s Tropang Texters, who have a 2-2 record going into the 7:30 p.m. encounter.
“They just lost to San Mig Coffee, so we know they’re going to come out with an extra sense of commitment and focus in this game,” said Trillo of the Tropang Texters, who eliminated the Aces in six games of their semifinal duel in the Philippine Cup last month.
The Petron Blaze Boosters, also on a hot start, aim to stretch their triumphant run to four against Air21 in the 5:15 p.m. opener.
The Boosters (3-1) nipped the Meralco Bolts, 88-86, last week while the Express (1-3) will try to snap out of a three-game losing spell, the last a 97-99 loss to the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters last Wednesday.
“We do like our matchup with them (Talk ‘N Text),” said Trillo, whose squad is coming off a convincing 84-69 win over Alaska in an out-of-town game in Tubod, Lanao Del Norte, on Saturday. “We both seem to bring out the best in each other.”
The Aces, who went 6-0 in the 2009 Philippine Cup, boast import Robert Dozier and a solid local crew featuring Sonny Thoss, Cyrus Baguio, JV Casio, Tony dela Cruz, Gabby Espinas, RJ Jazul and crack rookie Calvin Abueva.
The Tropang Texters lost to San Mig Coffee, 82-90, as former Best Import Denzel Bowles rediscovered his old form to fire 29 points and haul down 23 rebounds.
“It’s important that we start to find some consistency in our defense. So far, the effort has been up and down,” said Black. “It’s also important that our import stays out of foul trouble because it was crucial in our two losses.”
Bowles outmatched TNT’s Keith Benson, who had 16 points and 17 boards.