The Alaska Aces, coming off a conference where they were one shot from becoming champions, are currently out of the playoff race. (Let’s not talk about the Beermen, LOL).

The biggest thing missing is their defense: HBStats

They are currently the WORST defensive team in the league. Although their press defense has allowed them to still be the top turnover-forcing team, their inability to defend the paint AND the three point line (which is probably the reason why they allow an eFG of 51.4 percent, worst in the league) is killing them.

20150302 ALA shot chart FG dist

20150302 ALA shot chart FG

Teams are shooting 16.5 percent of their shots in the paint while making 71.4 percent, both are league worst mark in the league. Meanwhile, they’re allowing teams to shoot more than 25 3s per game (on 34.5 percent makes). Again, both are league worst numbers.

A big part of that is DJ Covington‘s non-existent defensive presence, despite his reputation. They’ve improved under Damion James — another “defensive” minded import. They’ve allowed just 94.7 points per 100, a clear improvement over their 112.5 points per 100 mark in the first 4 games. But it’s already the midway point of the conference and although they aren’t out of the playoffs just yet, they’re on the brink of it.

Kia is one of those teams battling Alaska for that final playoff spot. Their import, the humongous PJ Ramos, is averaging 29 points (57 percent TS) and 16.5 rebounds per 36 minutes. He’s been the fulcrum of what’s been an effective pairing so far with LA Revilla. Kia actually plays 14.4 points per 100 better when both PJ Ramos and LA Revilla are on the court.

I think the biggest thing for Alaska is to not let anyone outside of PJ Ramos score. Let PJ Ramos get his buckets but stick to the other players especially Revilla — who I believe is Kia’s X-factor. In their wins, Revilla is averaging 11.7 points (on 53.8 percent TS). In their losses, he’s averaging 7.4 points (on 41.8 percent TS).

Hopefully, Damion James activity — his “hustle” stats are 5/28/16 (rebounding split) and 2.4 percent STL% and 6.1 percent BLK% — will help negate Ramos’ rebounding. If they can keep Ramos’ rebounding down and prevent other KIA players from scoring, they’ll have a pretty good chance of winning this game.

Worth noting also that this will be Casio‘s 2nd game back from injury. Hopefully, he finds his rhythm tonight against fellow Lasallian LA Revilla.

TIME: 4:15 PM

Featured image courtesy of Paul Ryan Tan, Sports 5