In a short conference where every game seems like a must win, this game stands out… for both teams.
Rain or Shine and Alaska are coming off losses and their game tomorrow could set the tone for contention or a struggle back to the top. For Rain or Shine, a win here would allow them to go up to 3-1 in the nine game conference and stay atop the standings. While for Alaska, a loss would leave them with a 0-2 record and relegates them to bottom-feeder status.
What do the Elasto Painters have to do to stay on top of the team table? Let’s check out their keys to the game:
Rest assured folks, Alaska will start this game out strong. There’s no way this franchise will allow themselves to struggle this much after coming off a championship conference and an extended off-season that saw all their players getting ample amount of rest. Rain or Shine must not see a replay of their opening quarter struggle that cost them the game against Petron. They should exceed The Aces’ energy out of the gate and out-defend, out-hustle and out-execute them right from the get go.
Bottle That Energy
In Alaska’s opener against Globalport, Abueva wasn’t his usual Abueva self. While he did grab 11 rebounds, he only scored seven points, made 25% of his freethrows and turned the ball over five times. Expect The Beast to have already forgotten about that game and he will be more than ready to bang and get under the skin of Rain or Shine’s frontline.
We’ve already seen Abueva figure in two tune-up game incidents before the conference started. The Elasto Painter defenders must not fall under this trap and should balance defending Abueva honestly and giving him a taste of his own medicine.
Personally, I just can’t wait to see Belga and Abueva go at it. Should be a classic match-up. :)
Simply put, Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood need to play better. With a full five days to further recover and practice with the team, I expect both Gilas players to perform better than their last two games. The team has been able to perform relatively well “without” them, but there’s no way the team can keep winning without regular contribution from their national team players.
I say Rain or Shine pulls this one out. It’s going to be decided by a few possessions down the stretch and Coach Yeng and his crew will be able to win this one through some gritty plays.