ALASKA tries to secure a berth in the quarterfinal round in a crucial encounter against NLEX in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors’ Cup on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Aces and Road Warriors, tied in the team standings with 5-5 win-loss records, clash at 4:15 p.m.
Rain or Shine (4-6), on the other hand, fights for survival as it takes on the eliminated Star (2-8) at 7 p.m.
With six quarterfinals slots already taken, three teams are slugging it out for the last two—Alaska, Phoenix (5-6) and Rain or Shine.
The Aces hold their own fate as they only need to beat NLEX, a team already assured of a spot in the quarterfinals, to advance.
A loss by Alaska would put the Fred Uytengsu franchise in a playoff for the No. 8 spot against the Fuel Masters if Rain or Shine beat the Hotshots.
The Aces are coming off a 103-87 victory over the Fuel Masters for their third straight win and Head Coach Alex Compton is happy to see his wards get their old form back.
“I feel that we’re back now. The guys have responded and played much better defense as of late,” Compton said.
NLEX is also on a mini streak, winning its last two assignments—the last against GlobalPort, 114-98.
A win by the Road Warriors will put them at sixth spot but a loss could relegate them at No. 7 and face either Barangay Ginebra San Miguel or TNT Katropa in the quarterfinals.
Facing elimination are the Elasto Painters of Head Coach Yeng Guiao.
Rain or Shine could automatically qualify for the next round if it beats Star and NLEX defeats Alaska, where a three-way tie at 5-6 would ensue.
If that happens, the Elasto Painters, by virtue of higher quotient, will get the No. 7 seed and Alaska and Phoenix will knock each other out for the No. 8 position.
But for Rain or Shine to continue its playoffs streak, Head Coach Yeng Guiao needs a better performance from Josh Dollard, who struggled in their 75-82 loss to San Miguel Beer.
Dollard, who replaced Jason Forte, had a poor performance in their loss to the Beermen, scoring only 18 points to go with his nine rebounds.