OTHER than keeping its unbeaten slate in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Alaska is also motivated at becoming the first team to deal Talk `N Text back-to-back losses this season as the two squads clash for the first time this conference Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces are currently perched on top of the standings with a perfect 4-0 record, but that will definitely be seriously challenged by the Tropang Texters (2-2) in their 7:30 p.m. duel.
Alaska coach Luigi Trillo is aware his team has the personnel to match up with Talk ‘N Text’s veteran-laden squad, made more potent with the addition of import Keith Benson, who’s averaging 22.7 points, 16.25 rebounds, 1.75 steals, and 2.75 blocks in 36.5 minutes of play.
“I think the way we’ve been playing so far is we have a sense of direction but again, we can be the hunted at this point, especially since our next few games will be tough,” Trillo told Spin.ph.
Alaska import Robert Dozier may not be the dominant-type of import, but his numbers after four games so far speaks of what he brings to the Aces - 22 points, 15.25 rebounds, 1.25 assists, 1.5 steals, and 3.5 blocks per contest.
“Rob Dozier is deceptively strong because he uses his quickness. He also complements what our locals can do. He doesn’t ball hog,” noted Trillo, whose team lost to the Tropang Texters in six games during the semifinals of the Philippine Cup, which Talk `N Text eventually won.
On the other hand, Talk ‘N Text coach Norman Black is more concerned with seeing his team play consistently on the defensive end, while making sure Benson stays out of foul trouble.
“It’s a huge game for us. It’s important that we start to find some consistency on defense because so far, our efforts have been up and down,” said Black.
“It’s also important for our import to stay out of foul trouble because that has been a big part of our demise in our two losses,” he added.
Black’s squad is coming off a tough 82-90 loss to defending champion San Mig Coffee as the 6-foot-11 Benson ran into foul trouble, allowing reigning Commissioner’s Cup Best Import Denzel Bowles to erupt for 29 points, 23 rebounds, and three shot blocks.
“Alaska is playing so well we just have to bring our A-game if we want to come out with a win,” said Black.