by Jonas Terrado
Games Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Alaska vs NorthPort
7 p.m. – Ginebra vs Meralco
Alaska shoots for a quarterfinals berth against rejuvenated NorthPort in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces, toting a 4-6 record, need to beat the Batang Pier in the 4:30 p.m. to clinch one of the two remaining quarterfinal slots in the season-opening conference.
Defeat be could disaster as Alaska may either be relegated to a playoff for the eighth and final quarters berth or fail to secure a top eight finish depending on the possible scenarios after the eliminations.
Coach Alex Compton is hoping his team could bounce back from Sunday’s 114-96 defeat to San Miguel Beer, a game that saw the Aces lose steam in the fourth quarter.
Chris Banchero, Jeron Teng, Simon Enciso, Jvee Casio, Kevin Racal, Carl Bryan Cruz and Jake Pascual are looking to play in their sharpest form in order to foil NorthPort’s bid to stay alive in the playoff race.
NorthPort is coming off a morale-boosting 109-83 rout of TNT KaTropa on Sunday that snapped a six-game skid and revived its quest for a quarters slot.
The Batang Pier improved to 3-6, needing to win their final two games to finish inside the top eight.
A loss puts NorthPort in a must-win situation against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on April 3 at the Big Dome.
Meanwhile, Ginebra resumes its quest to produce a strong finish in the eliminations against desperate Meralco at 7 p.m.
Ginebra (6-3) is no longer in contention for a twice-to-beat advantage but coach Tim Cone wants nothing more than to sweep its final two games to gain momentum in the playoffs.