ALASKA and Meralco are each playing a waiting game, but that should take a backseat right now.
Not with a more important task at hand, which is their collision today in the PBA Philippine Cup bubble at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Angeles City.
The Aces and Bolts are looking to bounce back from stinging losses in their first games, the same identical goals of NLEX and Magnolia which tangle in the nightcap.
It should be mainly about which team makes the quicker turnaround in the face of the compressed schedule which has them playing practically every other day and adopted by the PBA to finish the entire tournament within two months.
“In a situation like this, the quicker you process, the quicker you learn, the better for you in this set-up,” NLEX coach Yeng Guiao pointed out.
Alaska plans to do just that following a 95-100 loss to TNT in a game kicking off the bubble format of the conference last Sunday and from which coach Jeffrey Cariaso drew some positives.
“The excitement was there, the energy was there,” said Cariaso during last Monday’s Media Availability session.
“But kasabay noon meron din namang nerves, may konting anxiety. But I think as we move forward, as we play and have had a few more games under our belt we would be back to where we want to be. Medyo normal na ng konti.”
Already without Sonny Thoss, who opted to sit out the bubble, the Aces must also continue to play another game without Maverick Ahanmisi.
The Fil-Nigerian combo guard is still currently undergoing quarantine in Manila and would only be allowed to enter the PBA contingent’s billeting at the Qeest Hotel inside Clark Freeport later this week.
The current Alaska players now have to do the adjustments Cariaso wants on their own.
“A few things, to be honest,” said Cariaso. “Part of our conversation… was being better and cleaning up departments where we could be better. Normally naman when you come from a loss there are corrections defensively.”
Meralco is also ticking off the hours for center Raymond Almazan to be in full shape before he could be fielded in.
Almazan was actually in uniform and was ready to play in the Bolts’ game in a 98-116 loss to Phoenix Super LPG last Monday, but Black opted to bench him.
“He joined us in the bubble one week ago so today is only his sixth day of practice with us in the last seven months,” explained Black yesterday.