by Jonas Terrado
Games Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. – Alaska vs Blackwater
6:45 p.m. – Ginebra vs Columbian
Alaska seeks to end a four-game skid and clinch a quarterfinals berth when it collides with Blackwater in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces need to get back on winning track in the 4:30 p.m. encounter with the Elite in order to book a place in the quarters and avoid any complications with another setback.
Coach Alex Compton’s side has not won since June 9 when it defeated Meralco, 93-89, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Since then, Alaska dropped to 4-6 after losses to Phoenix Pulse (78-76), San Miguel Beer (119-107), Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (118-106) and Rain or Shine (86-84).
Import Diamon Simpson, Chris Banchero and Vic Manuel are determined to end Alaska’s slump and clinch a playoff spot for the fifth straight conference.
Another Aces defeat is something Phoenix, Meralco and Columbian are hoping to happen in order for them to stay in contention.
Phoenix ended the eliminations at 4-7 following Friday’s 87-85 loss to NLEX at the Cuneta Astrodome while Meralco fell to 3-7 on the same day after a 93-92 setback to NorthPort.
Columbian plays Ginebra in the second game at 6:45 p.m., needing an upset victory to stay alive should Alaska absorbs defeat.
The Dyip also have a 3-7 slate but won two of their last three outings to keep themselves in the hunt.
Import Lester Prosper, rookie CJ Perez and Rashawn McCarthy face a tall order as Columbian tries to beat Ginebra for the first time in franchise history.
Columbian has lost all 13 meetings against Ginebra since entering the league in the 2014-15 season.
Blackwater and Ginebra only need to win in order to gain favorable seedings in the quarters. Both teams share identical 6-4 slates for joint third.