The Alaska Aces will have one more game to play before they leave the PBA Bubble, as they go up against the NorthPort Batang Pier, who need a win to get a better chance for a higher seed in the upcoming playoffs.
Catch this game live on September 23 at 4:35 pm, Manila time.
The NorthPort Batang Pier (5-5)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Robert Bolick
- SG: Jerrick Balanza
- SF: Jamie Malonzo
- PF: Sidney Onwubere
- C: Greg Slaughter
After a gut-wrenching 90-89 loss to the Magnolia Hotshots, the Batang Pier rebounded nicely, as they scored a 91-88 victory over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in their last outing. Greg Slaughter vented all his frustrations from a late-game substitution against Magnolia on Rain or Shine. The former Ateneo Blue Eagles star had 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Rain or Shine game.
Robert Bolick also mustard 24 points to go with six rebounds and seven assists. Slaughter is playing like a man on a mission in this conference, and while Alaska’s frontcourt has lots of bigs to body him up, the Aces might not have the energy to do that all game long, considering the number of games they have played over such a short period of time. Alaska might be too tired to keep up with NorthPort, who is second in the league this conference in pace (89.83) and third in possessions per game (90.77).
The Alaska Aces (3-7)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Mike DiGregorio
- SG: Maverick Ahanmisi
- SF: Jeron Teng
- PF: Rodney Brondial
- C: Abu Tratter
The Aces had their playoff dreams crushed in the most disheartening of ways. In Alaska’s meeting with the San Miguel Beermen on Wednesday, the Aces saw Marcio Lassiter bury a game-winning three that dealt Alaska a 101-100 loss. With that loss, the Aces are effectively out of playoff contention and will play a meaningless contest against NorthPort this Thursday.
But Alaska is a proud organization that doesn’t take any kind of game for granted, so expect the team to treat Thursday’s game like any other. Alaska’s big men showed out against Junemar Fajardo and the Beermen, with Abu Tratter and Rodney Brondial scoring 24 and 17 points, respectively. They can dig deep and make one last push to overcome an unspectacular Batang Pier squad that’s allowing 87.0 points per game this conference.
Spread: NorthPort is going to run and tire out the Aces. Take the Batang Pier to win and cover -4.
Over/Under: Tired or not, Alaska isn’t going to score a lot here. That’s just the way the Aces operate. But they could score just enough to help the high-scoring BatangPier hit the Over. Take the Over 179.