PBA Philippine Cup

Alaska takes hectic sched in stride as it restarts playoff hunt

Delfin Dioquino
Alaska takes hectic sched in stride as it restarts playoff hunt

COMEBACK. Alaska head coach Jeffrey Cariaso praises his wards for sticking together and marking their return with a victory.

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Alaska kicks off its killer schedule of three straight games in as many days by manhandling reigning PBA Philippine Cup champion Barangay Ginebra

Alaska would rather focus on the task at hand rather than lament its killer schedule as it resumed its playoff hunt in the PBA Philippine Cup.

Sidelined for nearly two weeks after being put under health and safety protocols, the Aces have been slated to play three straight games from September 17 to 19 – the only team in the league with such schedule.

“It’s the schedule that’s given to us because of the situation. We have to be ready for that, despite it being consecutive games,” said Alaska head coach Jeffrey Cariaso.

“It doesn’t matter to us that we’re the only ones, maybe this conference. It happens, unfortunately. No one wanted it to happen, but there’s games to be played, so I think that’s where the focus is.”

Despite the long layoff, the Aces did not show any signs of rust as it manhandled reigning all-Filipino champion Barangay Ginebra en route to an 89-75 onslaught on Friday, September 17.

The Gin Kings were fresh from a 26-point turnaround win over Phoenix two days prior but they failed to mount another comeback against an organized Alaska crew that spread the wealth offensively.

Abu Tratter delivered 13 points to lead five Aces in double figures, while three more Alaska players scored at least 8 points.

The Aces accomplished this even as most of their players joined practice only a day before their clash against Ginebra – fresh from finishing their respective quarantine periods.

“[I]t was very challenging because when you’re losing bodies at practice, it’s hard to get them into a game-like situation, game-like preparation.”

“[T]he rotation was a little different tonight and the guys just came in and really came out with just a hunger about them,” Cariaso said.

“It’s really just them just constantly trying to be ready on their own and being ready for game play.”

With Yousef Taha the only player who has yet to return from quarantine, Alaska gears up for its back-to-back games against league-leading TNT and slumping Terrafirma on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

A 3-4, the Aces have to win three of their last four games for a sure slot in the quarterfinals.

“We’re going to handle this adversity in a way we think is best by just sticking together and playing our brand of basketball,” Cariaso said. – Rappler.com

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.