The Alaska Aces and the Magnolia Hotshots were not supposed to meet this early in the 2021 Philippine Cup, but health issues to the other teams have these two storied franchises scheduled to play each other Wednesday evening. Both teams sport a 1-0 record. Who’s going to start the conference 2-0?

Catch this game live on July 21 at 6 pm, Manila time.

The Alaska Aces (1-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • PG: JVee Casio
  • SG: Robbie Herndon
  • SF: Jeron Teng
  • PF: Abu Tratter
  • C: Rodney Brondial

Alaska looked as though it is going to be just fine post-Vic Manuel era. Playing their first game in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, the Aces clobbered the Blackwater Bossing last Friday to the tune of a 103-77 score. 

Mike DiGregorio led the Aces as he came off the bench and torched his former team with 20 points, while Yousef Taha and Abu Tratter took care of business inside with a combined output of 29 points and 13 rebounds. Frontcourt depth used to be a problem for Alaska, but that doesn’t seem to be the case now. 

Rodney Brondial started in the Blackwater game and scored six points to go with 10 rebounds. Alaska’s big boys will be dealing with a different animal Wednesday, as Magnolia presents a tougher matchup up front, but it’s good to know for head coach Jeffrey Cariaso that his frontcourt is looking just as dependable as his backcourt that also has JVee Casio and Maverick Ahanmisi.


The Magnolia Hotshots (1-0)

Projected Starting Five:

  • PG: Paul Lee
  • SG: Mark Barroca
  • SF: Rome Dela Rosa
  • PF: Calvin Abueva
  • C: Ian Sanggalang

Like Alaska, Magnolia got off to a nice start to the conference, as the Hotshots took down the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 80-73, last Saturday. Calvin Abueva didn’t make Magnolia wait too long to show his new team what he can bring to the table. Abueva led the Hotshots with 26 points and 10 rebounds along with three assists. 

Meanwhile, Paul Lee had 21 points, though he shot just 5 of 19 from the field. Lee and Abueva will be a nightmare for Alaska’s defense. The duo drew a total of 19 fouls in the Phoenix game and went a combined 19 of 26 from the foul line. Magnolia also won against the Fuel Masters despite Ian Sanggalang scoring just six points on a poor 3-of-15 shooting from the field. 

Nevertheless, he’s a talented big Alaska’s defense can’t ignore. Anchored by Abueva and Mark Barroca, Magnolia’s defense could shut down Alaska’s shooters. The Hotshots held Matthew Wright down to just 1-of-7 shooting from deep, while RJ Jazul went 0 of 8.


Magnolia goes 2-0 in their first two games in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, as the Hotshots suffocate Alaska with their defense.