Add Vic Manuel to the growing list of injured players. Vic Manuel found himself on the receiving end of Al Thornton’s metal knees. It’s currently reported as a “hyperextended knee” and may or may not be a good or bad thing. Do know that Vic Manuel is in a lot of pain and even if he did play, don’t expect him to play at peak performance.

That news comes at a bad time as they are set to play a tough 4-game stretch starting with a GlobalPort team that’s stuck around .500 (in both differential and record) thanks in large part to the efforts of their super rookie Stanley Pringle — who’s been spectacular for GlobalPort. It helps that Terrence Romeo has been a man on a mission this conference — out to prove that GlobalPort did the right thing drafting him. Part of that is him shooting laser on 3-point and midrange shots — where he’s 7 of 12 and 8 of 19, respectively. Good thing is Alaska has the defenders to match up against both Pringle and Romeo.

Alaska has to get back to its roots and start defending at a high level. This means forcing a lot of turnovers and keeping GlobalPort to just one shot each trip. The rebounding part will be easy. They don’t have a lot of strong rebounding bigs and they were a top rebounding team before only because they gang rebounded (especially guards). But this season, they’re not doing well in the rebounding department just rebounding about a quarter (26.2 percent) of their misses while rebounding just about two thirds of their opponent’s misses (67.7 percent) — both awful numbers. Despite Alaska’s similarly awful start (29.3 ORB percent, 35.0 DRB percent), they’ve historically been a great rebounding team. Calvin Abueva is still playing. He who holds a career total rebounding percentage of 19.1 percent (although he struggles in Comm Cup games, where his career rebounding percentage is just 16.2). Eric Menk is a solid rebounding big and they have a bunch of scrappy rebounding guards (Jazul, Exciminiano). Manuel and Thoss’ absence hurt a lot but Covington is playing well below what everyone expects so that will help.

It’s forcing those turnovers that will be difficult, not with GlobalPort usually employing two ball handlers at the same time. Those easy baskets will be very important for an Alaska offense that will falter without Casio, Thoss AND Manuel (at full strength). They’ll have to get creative and employ some nice traps if they want to force turnovers.

Besides those things, I’ll be watching Chris Banchero and DJ Covington’s progress and how Abueva responds to two consecutive bad performances.

TIME: 7:00 PM