LEAGUE-leading Alaska tries to widen its lead, while Air21 looks to get a win streak going when the Aces and the Express clash in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Ynares Center in Antipolo City on Friday.
The Aces hold a 6-1 win-loss record halfway through the elimination round and are huge favorites over the Express, which improved their card to 2-5 with victory over Globalport in their last outing.
The game starts at 7:30 p.m.
Air21 has suffered numerous narrow losses and Alaska coach Luigi Trillo considers the Express as serious playoff contenders.
“All their losses were close. And I think it’s just a matter of Air21 learning to play together because when you look at their line-up, they’ve got guys who can create their shots,” explained Trillo.
While import Michael Dunigan remains as the team’s offensive and defensive anchor with 26.7 points, 16.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per contest, the Express still have KG Canaleta and Mike Cortez to provide additional scoring punch.
The 6-foot-9 Dunigan averaged 37.5 points and 18 rebounds in his last two games, numbers that Trillo hopes to limit when they apply the double-teaming defense.
“One thing we’ll do is we have a Sonny Thoss to man Dunigan. He may not be able to stop him but at least, Sonny can slow him down,” added Trillo.
Air21 is coming off a 106-94 win over Globalport, snapping its five-game losing streak in the process.
“Hopefully we can sustain this (win against Globalport) but it’s a short celebration for us because we’re playing Alaska, one of the best teams right now,” Air21 coach Franz Pumaren said.