DUBAI – Alaska faces a brutal challenge in its bid to regain the solo top spot in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup.
The Aces play two straight games over less than 24 hours in this oil-rich outpost beginning on Friday night (early Saturday morning, Manila time) when they clash with unpredictable Mahindra at the Al Wasl Sports Club.
Playing for the first time in this progressive city that boasts the world’s tallest building in Burj Khalifa, the Aces brought with them an unbeaten 2-0 card, which they intend to keep perfect in a bid to wrest the lead from idle Rain or Shine (3-0).
But Alaska coach Alex Compton fully knows the sticky situation his team is facing.
After Mahindra, the Aces battle crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra the following day (early Sunday morning, Manila time).
“We’ll have really essentially no practice to get ready for them (Gin Kings), then they’ve had a week to prepare for us. So it’s gonna be a challenge,” said Compton on Friday hours before the team’s scheduled meeting with the Enforcers (0-2) led by playing-coach and boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao.
“We’ll have less than 24 hours (to prepare). Our prep time basically is, eat after Mahindra game, sleep and get our minds right, before we talk about Ginebra. Then the next morning, about 10 hours before the game, we’ll have our walk-through and watch video,” added Compton.
Dubai time is four hours late from Manila, which means that the 8 p.m. Alaska-Mahindra tussle will be played around 12 midnight Philippine time.
Banged-up - victorious or otherwise – the Aces return to the hard court against the winless Kings (0-2), hoping they could still bring their A-game and be successful on both ends of the floor.
“We’ll just see if we can bring our A game and hopefully we’ll be successful,” added Compton, admitting the Gin Kings are scary who could ‘click’ on any given day.
“They’re definitely scary. Greg Slaughter is playing great.”
Of the three teams, only Ginebra has played here previously.
The Kings are in their fifth stint in Dubai, their last being in the Governors Cup where they defeated the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 93-81, when the team was still handled by coach Frankie Lim.