Alaska pulled off another convincing win against Ginebra to lead the series, 2-0. Here are RJ and Carla’s thoughts on the matchup.
RJ: Ginebra lost game two, 104-90. Coach Alfrancis Chua was fined by the PBA for improper gestures. Mark Caguioa is still not playing like the Mark Caguioa Ginebra fans all know and love. LA Tenorio’s game is out of control. Vernon Macklin’s temper is as hot as Alaska’s three point shooting. All the negative signs are pointing Ginebra right now, and there’s no way they could steal a game if they continue to play like this.
Carla: Personally, I was looking forward to an excellent series when I found out that it would be Alaska versus Ginebra. Exciting games are to be expected when two teams that never give up face each other. With that said, I was surprised when game one turned out uneventful, leading to an easy Alaska win. I was expecting more from game two, but all we got was a more physical game with the same results.
RJ: I want to credit Alaska’s defense for causing Ginebra’s offensive struggles. Calvin Abueva is winning mind games against the Ginebra players. However, there was one bright spot for Ginebra in the last two games – Jay-jay Helterbrand. He continued to play like how he used to in the mid 2000’s. He scored 17 points off the bench in game two. Ginebra’s outside shooting also improved, as they made 10 3-pointers in game two compared to only three during game one.
Carla: Ginebra actually started the game strong, and their shooting was a lot better than it was in game one. What really got them was Alaska’s display of mental toughness. During the first quarter, most of the calls were not in favor of the Aces as Ginebra pulled away from them. Alaska was able to quickly adjust their defense and steadily cut down the lead. Their confidence is probably at an all time high right now, which could spell trouble for Ginebra. Let’s look at the keys to game 3.
Keys to the game for Barangay Ginebra
1. GINeral must control the game – LA Tenorio must control the flow of the game, and he needs to that for the whole 48 minutes. He had 16 points, nine rebounds and nine assists during game two but he only converted 32%. He needs to have a perfect game for Ginebra to have a chance to get the win on Sunday. He needs to control himself not force anything by himself.
2. Nuetralize Abueva – Maybe shutting down Abueva is not an option. Maybe neutralizing him is the answer. This key is for Baracael and Hatfield. Baracael needs to convert his shots and Hatfield must exceed Abueva’s energy. It is a must for both players.
3. 48 minutes of hell – Ginebra can’t turn in on when they want to. Alaska is too good of a team. Playing 48 minutes of disciplined basketball and passion is a must for Ginebra. Playing their backs against the wall is not new to them. Again, basketball is a 48 minute sport.
Keys to Game for the Alaska Aces:
To be honest, Alaska has been doing everything right. Ginebra has done pretty much everything to figure out how to get a win, but the Aces are playing excellent basketball. All they need to do is…
1. Maintain their defense – We all know that Alaska is the best defensive team in the league. Ginebra can’t find any way around it. Even if Ginebra started game two by quickening the pace, they were unable to sustain it. The schedule is also on Alaska’s side since Ginebra only gets one day to make the needed adjustments.
2. Dozier vs Macklin – Dozier has proven to be the more reliable import in the last two games. Macklin came up with eight points and 13 rebounds, while Dozier had 15 points and 20 rebounds. Dozier has really been the most reliable and consistent import this conference, and is a perfect fit for Alaska’s playing style.
3. Confidence – As I said earlier, Alaska’s confidence is at an all time high. So high that six players were able to score in the double digits during game two. Player of the game Sonny Thoss had 16 points. Dozier, Abueva, Hontiveros and Baguio all had 15 while Casio put up 13 points. With everyone stepping up, we can see how hungry the Aces are for the title.
RJ: I won’t still buy that Alaska can sweep Ginebra. I think ginebra has not played their best basketball in this series. Ginebra will win game 3 by a hairline.
Carla: Alaska will sweep Ginebra. They’ll take the championship tomorrow.