Llamados face B-Boys; Aces take on Energy
Two knockout games to fill the last Final Four slots in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup will be played Sunday, with traditional playoff contenders Alaska and B-Meg having momentum over their respective foes at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces battle the Barako Bull Energy in the 4:15 p.m. game before the Llamados, the highest-seeded squad in this round, slug it out with dangerous Meralco in the 6:30 p.m. game with the losers packing their bags for a belated Holy Week break.
Defending champion Talk ‘N Text will clash with the winner of the Barako Bull-Alaska series, while crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra, the No. 2 seed, will battle the survivor of the B-Meg-Meralco series.
Both series will be race-to-four affairs starting Tuesday.
All four sides are well-rested because of the three-day Lenten break and it would be interesting to see who among them will be sharp coming into their respective game times.
Alaska and B-Meg avoided being swept Wednesday night with command performances that led to blowout victories, and they would hope to ride that brilliance for the double do-or-die games today.
B-Meg, the third-ranked squad after the eliminations, got a huge lift Wednesday when Mac-Mac Cardona was thrown out barely two minutes into Game 2, exploiting that to post several 26-point leads before prevailing.
Cardona escaped suspension and was fined P6,600 for hitting B-Meg import Denzel Bowles without provocation and the Llamados will surely be in for another tough night especially so since Earl Barron has proven to be an unstoppable force for the B-Boys.
Alaska, meanwhile, was cohesive enough to dump the Energy also Wednesday night after Barako Bull planed in a new import in Gabriel Freeman.
But Alaska coach Joel Banal knows what he will be up against tonight.
“For sure, come Sunday, Freeman will blend with the team,” Banal told reporters. “We have to be ready for Freeman’s breakout game. We can’t give that to him.”
Maybe the Aces still could, if only they could have Adam Parada contribute the way they want him to be.
In the first two games of the series, the 7-foot Parada scored just a combined 23 points, and if Freeman does break out tonight and the Alaska import continues to struggle, then the Aces could be in real trouble.
Meanwhile, blow horns and the popular football cheering equipment “vuvuzela” have been banned by the league starting today’s double header.
Citing health reasons of the other paying fans and the drowned audio of the television and radio broadcasts, the PBA put its foot down and banned the vuvuzelas and other noise-making gadgets from the games.
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