Aces eye best start since ’09
Battle ex-coach Cone, MixersBy Musong R. Castillo |Philippine Daily Inquirer
ALASKA tries to do what it last achieved in the Tim Cone era as the Aces gun for a sixth straight victory tonight in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Interestingly enough, the Aces would have to do it with their former coach calling the shots on the opposite side of the floor for the defending champion San Mig Coffee Mixers.
Game time is 7:30 p.m. and the Aces—who last produced a 6-0 start in 2009—can write a new chapter under the youthful Luigi Trillo.
“It’s going to be tough going,” said Cone, who guided the Aces to all their 13 championships in close to 23 years at the helm. “Alaska is playing at a very high level with great confidence. We are still trying to get our feet under us after a poor start.”
Cone and the Mixers are nursing a two-game win streak, but that pales in comparison to the one the Aces have strung up. Alaska is fresh off a 92-69 bamboozling of Talk ‘N Text, the reigning Philippine Cup champion, in a game where Robert Dozier shot 23 points and hauled down 18 rebounds while four locals drilled in 10 points or more.
The Alaska import will be put to a severe test as he goes up against Denzel Bowles, last year’s Best Import and the biggest reason why the Mixers turned back the Tropang Texters in the Finals last season.
Trillo, however, is aware that Bowles is not the only one who could hurt them.
“The thing with San Mig is they have good one-on-one players, but they somehow always find ways to play together and share the load,” said Trillo, the second coach to be put in charge of Alaska after Cone left in 2011.
Meanwhile, Air21 tries to snap a four-game skid earlier when it locks horns with equally struggling Meralco at 5:15 p.m.
Air21 will be battling a Meralco side that slipped past Globalport, 90-89, with a lot of spunk last week.
In that game, Sunday Salvacion nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer, completing the Bolts’ mighty comeback. It was Salvacion’s first game in four outings in the tournament, and he made it one to remember by finishing with 21 points built around six triple conversions.