ALASKA vows no letup as it seeks to finish off Meralco in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series on Monday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Aces regained the series lead and moved on the verge of reaching the finals for the third straight time and fourth over the last five conferences after outclassing the Bolts, 92-72, in Game Three last Friday behind their trademark full-court defense.
And expect the perennial title contenders to do the same in Game Four that tips off at 7 p.m.
“We’ll never change the way we play,” Aces coach Alex Compton said. “The only time we won’t press is if we’re up (comfortably) in the endgame.”
“I don’t ever really believe, as a person or group, that you’ll be successful straying from who you really are,” he added. “We’re a pressing, defensive-minded team that likes to share the basketball. I don’t imagine that we would win any other way.”
The Aces’ defense showed in the Game Three stats sheet where they allowed the Bolts to make just 28 of their 79 shots for a dismal 35 percent from the field and forced them to commit 21 errors that translated into 26 turnover points.
Their team defense was also evident on Bolts import Arinze Onuaku, who tallied 16 points, but was limited to just nine attempts in 36 minutes.
“If we could double him from the bench, we would,” Compton said in jest. “I’m trying of every different way that we can double him so he doesn’t get a rhythm.”
Calvin Abueva, a Best Player of the Conference candidate, and Rob Dozier are the Aces’ fire starters as usual, while the Bolts seek to get a rejuvenated effort from Chris Newsome as well as more aggressiveness from Onuaku to stay alive.