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PBA: Hotshots, Aces start series

Magnolia's Paul Lee celebrates during the PBA Philippine Cup Finals Game 1 against San Miguel at Smart Araneta Coliseum, March 23, 2018 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

By Jonas Terrado

Game Today
(Mall of Asia Arena)
7 p.m. – Magnolia vs Alaska

Pro basketball action resumes tonight after the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers as Magnolia and Alaska begin their best-of-seven Finals showdown in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The Hotshots and Aces look to take advantage of the long rest following hard-fought victories in the semifinals nearly three weeks ago and draw first blood in the series opener slated 7 p.m.

Magnolia will head to the title series having the luxury of having rested bodies after Paul Lee and Ian Sangalang didn’t see action for Gilas Pilipinas in the recent FIBA window.

With no player part of the national pool, Alaska spent the break focusing solely on trying to end years of frustration under coach Alex Compton, whose aiming for his first title after four Finals setbacks.

Compton will engage in a tactical battle with former teammate and rival Chito Victolero, who is eyeing to write a different chapter this time after his first finals appearance ended with a five-game defeat to San Miguel Beer in this season’s Philippine Cup.
The import matchup serves as one of the subplots in the series between two teams hungry to win it all.

Hardworking 35-year-old Mike Harris of Alaska hopes to live up to his billing as the frontrunner for the Best Import award against the determined Romeo Travis of Magnolia.

Travis is out to atone for the frustration of losing in the 2015 Governors’ Cup Finals to San Miguel when he ironically donned the Alaska uniform.

Guard play is also seen as a determining factor with Magnolia fielding Lee, Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon and Justin Melton and Alaska implementing its trademark pressure defense with Chris Banchero, Simon Enciso, Jvee Casio and Ping Exciminiano.

Sangalang, Rafi Reavis, Rodney Brondial and Kyle Pascual lead the Hotshots frontline against the Aces’ Vic Manuel, Nonoy Baclao, Jake Pascual and veteran Sonny Thoss.

What do you think?

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