Both teams are entering with a solid 2-0 record. This means only one team will remain undefeated after today. Hopefully, that’ll be the Alaska Aces.
The Aces are coming off a resounding win against the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters. Buoyed by the superhuman effort of Abueva (26 points, 22 rebounds), the Aces escaped with a victory despite the Tropang Texters hitting 44.1 percent of their 34 3-point attempts. The Bolts, on the other hand, were carried by a similarly superhuman effort from Cliff Hodge (26 points, 18 rebounds). As Chuck Araneta tweeted:
So to recap: currently the BPC candidates are Uncle Cliffy, Beast and The Krakle. Man was that 2012 draft class ridiculously good.
— Carlos Araneta (@chuck_araneta) October 29, 2014
(Worth mentioning: Alex Mallari was picked 3rd. HAHAHA)
Cliff Hodge and Abueva, share something similar: an unquenchable desire to grab every rebound out there. It’s that fight, that bulldog mentality that they share that makes this such an interesting matchup. Although Hodge came late to the party (he truly broke out of his shell in the Governor’s Cup, when he announced his 3-point shot to the world of PBA) and Abueva still as volatile as he’s ever been, they’ll both be a key part of what’ll make this match up so watchable.
From a purely tactics standpoint, it’ll be interesting to see how Meralco’s interchangeability affects Alaska’s fairly conservative defensive tactics. Meralco’s interchangeable parts of big men (Hodge, Hugnatan, Anthony, Guevarra) allows for a radically different offensive philosophy, akin to how the Atlanta Hawks (that featured Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Josh Smith and Al Horford) were able to forge both an average offensive and defensive team. Offensively, it won’t be much of a problem since Alaska rarely uses on-ball screens to generate points. They usually depend on down screens (for low posts) and flare screens (for shooters and pinch post action) to get their shots — both of which are of the off-ball variety. Meralco can and likes to switch on ball screens — that’s the advantage of flexible player personnel. But defensively is where it gets dodgy — one wrong switch and you’ll find yourself looking at a Hodge vs Casio/Jazul postup. That won’t end well for Alaska.
I’m much more confident that Alaska can win this game compared to the previous one (TNT). I’ll wager an Alaska W, but I don’t feel 100 percent comfortable saying that considering Meralco’s flexible player personnel.
Featured Image: InterAksyon.com