Long-time rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Alaska Aces will shake the rusts off after a delay in the PBA bubble schedule when they hook up Tuesday night for a marquee showdown between two teams in the upper half of the standings.
Will Ginebra snap their skid? Or, will Alaska extend its unbeaten streak to three games?
Catch this game live on November 3 at 6:45 pm, Manila time.
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (4-2)
The Barangay are suddenly on a losing streak. After opening the conference like a house on fire with four wins in a row, Ginebra has now lost both its last two games. In their last outing, they absorbed an 85-82 loss at the hands of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters last week.
Ginebra head coach Tim Cone knows that defense will be key for them against Alaska, particularly against the Aces’ seemingly improved frontcourt, led by the “Muscle Man,” Vic Manuel. The Barangay should make toughening up their interior defense a priority going forward, especially after they got carved up inside by Beau Belga in the Rain or Shine game. The good thing for Ginebra is that they can always expect Japeth Aguilar to help them in that area. The veteran big man is averaging 1.0 block per game this conference.
Ginebra assistant head coach Richard del Rosario also admitted following the loss to Rain or Shine that the Barangay were too reliant on Stanley Pringle on offense, with just Scottie Thompson being the only one to help the former Penn State standout on that end of the court, so expect the likes of Prince Caperal, Aljon Mariano, and Jeff Chan to be extra active in hunting for their shots.
The Alaska Aces (5-3)
The Aces are one of the hottest teams in the bubble, and they are hoping the long layoff has not cooled them off.
The Aces’ offense is clicking, and it shows in their current unbeaten run in which they have shot 47 FG% and 39.4 3FG%. In the win over the Fuel Masters, Alaska was led by Manuel’s 24 points. Manuel found himself in the zone in the fourth quarter, where he scored 10 points. Manuel teamed up with Mike DiGregorio in the final period to carry the Aces, with the latter pouring in 14 of his 24 points in that portion of the game.
Alaska’s peskiness on the offensive glass will be key for the Aces against Ginebra. The Aces, who had 15 offensive rebounds against Phoenix, are averaging 13.38 offensive rebounds per game and leads all teams in the bubble with 18.25 second-chance points per outing.
Alaska’s Vic Manuel continues to flourish along with the Aces’ guards, while Rodney Brondial makes quite a difference with his offensive rebounding. Alaska wins this game, 88-86.