ALASKA looks to extend its winning streak to seven and tie league leader Rain or Shine when it tackles slumping NLEX in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Holders of the longest active streak in the midseason tournament, the Aces (6-1 won-lost) gun for the share of the lead and a chance to solidify their bid for the twice-to-beat incentive in the playoffs.
But blocking their way are the hungry Road Warriors, who are trying to survive the elimination phase with a 2-6 record. They must sweep their remaining games to taste a quarterfinals experience.
The two teams meet at 7 p.m., while Meralco (5-2) shoots for a playoff ticket when it battles already out Blackwater (1-8) at 4:30 p.m.
Thanks to the consistent monstrous games of forward Vic Manuel, Alaska has been on a run, recently beating Magnolia, 103-99, to clinch a quarterfinal seat with five games left in their calendar.
Coming off the bench, the 6-foot-3 Manuel scored 17 of his 35 points in the final frame of that game. He also hauled seven rebounds and blocked two shots to give a boost to his already impressive norms of 24.86 markers and 5.43 boards this conference.
Aces Head Coach Alex Compton gave sweet words for his hardworking player, who is having a breakout of his career.
“He’s really unbelievable. Vic is doing all the extra work to improve his game,” Compton said.
With the way Alaska plays, the mentor could only wish that the franchise can take another title it last won in 2013.
“Hopefully, we could keep winning. We have this goal of going for the championship,” Compton added.
Import Antonio Campbell is a fitting partner for Manuel, as he tallied 38 points and 15 rebounds against the Hotshots, numbers that the team badly needs in the absence of energetic forward Calvin Abueva, who is serving an indefinite suspension after missing Alaska’s practices without proper notice.