Preview: Alaska goes for 1st win vs ROS

Enzo Flojo
Winless Alaska meets defending champion Rain or Shine.

GETTING BACK. Tiu and Reid hope to lead ROS back to victory. Photo by PBA Images/Nuki Sabio. 

Alaska Aces (0-1) vs Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (2-1)

Why Alaska will win: Coach Luigi Trillo surely had his guys practice those free throws. As a team, the Aces shot a paltry 46.7% from the stripe against GlobalPort, with all but JV Casio and Gabby Espinas missing at least 2 from the line (and that’s because Espinas went 0/1). Expect guys like Wendell McKines, Sonny Thoss, and Calvin Abueva to shoot much better this time around. Also, I think Casio will be the one starting instead of RJ Jazul, who went 0/6 from the field on top of 3 turnovers in Alaska’s last game.

Why Rain or Shine will win: The Painters should have learned from the Petron loss that slow starts just won’t cut it. And, again, Gabe Norwood and Jeff Chan cannot afford to combined for 1/12 FG shooting. They will do much better here, despite still going up against stiff competition at the wings against Abueva and Cyrus Baguio. I expect Norwood to be much more aggressive in going to the hole and Chan to be much more active in getting to his sweet spots. Their shots are bound to fall, and tonight should be the night.

Key Match-ups:

Calvin Abueva (7.0ppg, 11.0rpg, 3.0apg, 42.9 FG%) vs Gabe Norwood (1.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 2.5apg, 1.0spg, 0.0 FG%)

Definitely not the numbers we’re used to from both guys. Abueva’s rebounding was great against the Batang Pier, but his offense wasn’t so potent. Likewise with Norwood, who has yet to make a bucket in this conference. Tonight I believe we’ll see both sublime swingmen in their groove, which means we’ll see some bodies flying (thanks, Calvin) and some aerial acrobatics (thanks, Gabe).

X-Factor:

Jeff Chan

Chan has been shooting anemically. He has made just 2 of 7 treys and missed all 3 of his 2-point attempts. The Aces will try to shadow him, for sure, but I suspect he probably attempted 1,000 shots in ROS’s last practice just to make sure he’s on-target tonight. Should he be able to connect, things will be extra tough for Alaska.

What this game means:

Both teams definitely want to bounce back after their previous defeats. Alaska didn’t expect to start the conference on a losing note, and they would do well to get back on-track with a W over the Painters here. On the other hand, coach Yeng Guiao’s guys still haven’t really shown the chemistry that has made them such a tough cookie for the past handful of conferences. If the Painters can get their act together here, then they should move up to 3-1. – Rappler.com

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